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Donatella Nicolini interviewed by Fire & Ice University - Spotlight

WOW!!! I don't mind saying that i am a bit star-struck with this incredible artist and her fantastic work. Her photos and work are on another level. I've been intrigued by her work for a while now, ever since seeing it in one of our blitzes a long time ago and I made a note to make sure she was featured. Then, she posted that amazing blue and orange maternity photo and it was time to make sure everyone knew about this spectacular Artist (with a capital A).

If you want to follow her or check out more work, look at:

Q: Where are you from?

A: I'm from Milano, Italy. Born and raised!

Q: What gear do you use?

A: I recently got a new camera, so I am currently using a medium format Fujifilm GFX50S. Before that I used a Nikon D750 for about two/three years. As for lighting, I use 2 Profoto B1 and 1 Profoto D2. Light modifiers... I have pretty much all you can think of! I love experimenting and playing with light. The more difficult and technical it gets, the more I enjoy it! Lenses I use: FUJIFILM GF63mm F2.8 | Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 | Nikkor 85 1.8 | Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 and Sigma Macro 105

Q: How long have you been a photographer and how did you first get started? A: I've been a full time professional photographer for two years. I started taking pictures, not professionally, 5 years ago. One day, about 5 years ago, I was living in Sweden and working in a theme park called "High Chaparral". I was spending my days surrounded by artists: actors, dancers, singers, performers. One day a friend of mine who was working there as well, asked me to take some portraits during a live show (she was the host) and she gave me her Nikon D70. I had no idea how to use a reflex in manual mode, so I remember she did all the settings for me. I liked it so much I asked her if I could keep her camera and use it for a few more days. I started to go around everywhere with this camera, taking portraits of my friends and posting some on Facebook. People seemed to like my portraits, even though I didn't know much about photography, apparently I had an eye for capturing beauty. I bought my first camera, a Nikon D3200 and I started to study, practice and attend classes and workshops, both online and in person. I knew portrait photography was my thing right away. I was a very shy kid and I had a hard time making friends when I was younger, I just didn't like people easily. I soon realized everything was different when I was shooting. Taking portraits of people made me feel so good and full of love. I could see beauty in everyone, I could feel love even for strangers when looking at them through the lens. It changed my relationship with people, it changed my approach to life. I always say portrait photography was my therapy and it still is. Every time I feel discouraged or sad, I know I just need to sit down, think and draw a new image, then go to the studio and start creating. Creating beautiful images makes me feel alive. It makes me feel like I have a place and a purpose in this world. Then my nephew was born and I started to get interested in baby and newborn photography. Newborn photography led me to maternity portraits, which changed my life.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

A: Everywhere! Movies, books, music videoclips, paintings, Netflix series, other photographers' work, theatre

plays and live shows - everything can be an inspiration!

Q: What is your specialty?

A: I specialize in maternity portraits

Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get a shot?

A: I haven't done incredibly crazy stuff, but I often fill up my studio with dry grass, flowers, leaves, branches and stuff like this to give some kind of outdoors / wild feel to my images.

Q: What is on your photography bucket list?

A: I just purchased a class about long exposure portraits, I'd like to experiment with that next!

Q: What is the best shot you’ve ever taken and why?

A: I am in love with this recent image I created using colored gels (the blue and orange maternity shot). I don't know if it's my best shot, but it sure is my favorite for the moment. I hope my best shot is yet to come!

Fotografa Foto Fotografo Gravidanza Maternità Milano Donatella Nicolini Maternity Photographer

Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger photographer self?

A: Forget about props and focus on mastering the light! Get a decent strobe and learn how to use it!

Q: What music do you listen to when you edit?

A: I like to listen to relaxing music while editing. It's usually something by Hans Zimmer or Ludovico Einaudi.

Q: Who is your favorite artist?

A: I can't pick one. I can give you a list of favorite photographers though: Patrick DeMarchelier, Mark Lagrange, Vincent Peters, Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Joey L., Chris Knight, Lindsay Adler, Marc Hom, Peter Lindbergh, just to mention a few. A few names of my fav painters: Dalì, Magritte and Klimt.

Q: What are three interesting things about you?

1) I lived in the middle of the woods in Sweden, on and off for two years

.2) I speak 4 languages (it used to be 5 but I've lost one sadly).

3) I am obsessed with self-improvement and mindset, I am constantly studying, reading and watching videos about these topics

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