I have a special treat for you today, dear readers! Today, we’re joined by Nik Cali, a not-so-local photographer who’s been so gracious as to share some of his wisdom with us. I first met Nik during my internship at the newspaper this summer. Nik is the lucky one–he has his own internship with a national magazine, Hot Shot Sports, and gets to see his name in print (still working on that over here). Let’s jump right in and find out what makes Nik tick!
You’re from New York City, right, Nik? A city like that must be full of inspiration. Is that how you got into photography?
New York City isn’t as glamorous as everyone thinks, and I definitely didn’t grow up in the glitzy part of town. My inspiration was a desperate desire to get away from the city, and I sort of stumbled into photography. Living through the camera is sometimes better than living my real life, if you know what I mean.
What do you mean by living through the camera?
I can change settings on a camera. I can manipulate reality to reflect what I want it to show. I guess it’s like living in your own world, capturing a moment and living in it forever.
What sort of things do you like to photograph? Your social media is full of cityscapes, nature, and lately, sports.
I think the sports are mostly related to my internship. Before this summer, I knew absolutely nothing about swimmers or the Olympics. I like to photograph things that make me feel something, whether it’s happy or sad or everything in between. That probably sounds really pretentious, but going to art school does that to you.
Your internship has you following Tiernan Pace, an Olympic swimmer hopeful. Is sports photography more or less difficult than you thought it would be?
It is difficult in its own way. It’s like learning a whole new set of skills. There are basics to framing and lighting, but you can’t rely on a studio to help you get the perfect photo in an action shot. Sometimes, I feel like it’s luck of the shot. That said, I’ve definitely learned a lot, not least how to get unblurry face shots.
Do you think Sport Photography is your calling now?
I wouldn’t say that, but I’m grateful for the all it’s given me so far. I really want to do travel photography some day, to get out and see the world. Sometimes it feels like photography is a dying art, since everyone has a camera and everyone has Instagram filters, but I think there’s still more to it than internet photography. It takes skill to get the really good shots, and that’s the kind of photographer I want to be.
Are you saying my Instagram is a sham?
You might do with a few less selfies.
Brave words from someone who has almost no selfies on his Instagram. Nevertheless, Nik has been honing his skill for a while now at the Chicago Institute of Art and I expect to see a lot from him in the coming years. For more of his photography, check out his blog or his (albeit selfie-less) Instagram.