Nicole Wolff, owner of Sota Dzine, visited the Washington DC SMUG for some words of wisdom. She spoke primarily about self fulfillment and following your dreams to help others. Nicole broke her presentation to the SmugMug group down into three parts: 1) how she started and her business, 2) how to reinvigorate your passion, and 3) about self fulfillment and giving back.
Nicole started her business in 2001 and quickly learned to be true to herself. Forging a smoldering path within the wedding photography business based on her desires and vision, she realized that she loved to push the envelope in terms of artistic creativity.
Although difficult at first, Nicole stressed the need to be true to yourself and ensure that there is always an end goal to push towards. Merging her vision with ideal clients took some time to accomplish, but it was what separated her from other photographers in her space. Her unique style and attitude towards photography distinguished her in the Washington DC market.
In the weeks where she didn’t have weddings or commercial shoots booked, she would fly back home to be with her family. Through her trips back home, and her love for commercial fishing, Nicole began to document people and the hardships and challenges they experienced in their daily lives
Through her various trips, she accumulated a story that few have ever seen. This project took many years and many trips to compile; yet the creative process, and her love for the sea, allowed this creative outlet to compliment her current work.
The final part of her presentation discussed finding a deeper meaning through our work. Nicole, like many photographers, has been blessed with a gift to tell a visual story. She also wanted to use her gift to tell a real story.
She was given the opportunity to volunteer in Haiti to capture images of travesty and desperation. In her time there, she was able to connect with the people of Haiti, understand their struggles, and accurately tell their story.
But more so than simply document, she can make a difference. Nicole has started the Up From Under foundation (www.upfromunder.com). It is dedicated to building houses for those who have lost everything in the earthquake.
Her organization has built two houses and is on the brink of building another four houses. Her message: As artists, we have a unique gift and a unique opportunity to help those around us, a gift that should not be squandered but cultivated.
Submitted by the Washington DC Scribe: Sunny Mathur
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