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Nicole Gibson bio picture

Nicole Gibson

Welcome to the Nicole Gibson Photography blog! Years ago, Nicole became captivated by the power of visual expression and storytelling, and today what she loves most is to create images about the world, about humanity, and about the human condition.

Nicole Gibson is an award-winning photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She was awarded First Place in the 2010 International Photography Awards, in addition to 8 Honorable Mentions. She is also the winner of the 2008 Vincent Versace Award for Photographic Excellence. Nicole’s work has been published in Photoshop User Magazine and B&W. Her work has also been sold to Bethany House Publishers, used by various non-profit organizations, and represented by India Picture stock agency. She is also a member of the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers

Working With a Limited Medium

“Much of the beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle the artist wages with his limited medium.” – Henri Matisse


Sometimes I really envy artists like painters and musicians their limited mediums. I used to play the violin, and with a violin, all you have are four strings and a bow. That’s it. That’s what you have to work with. But in photography, there are endless editing programs, cameras, lenses, etc, For a lot of photographers, it takes so many decisions just to figure out film or digital, which camera, which lens, what kind of post-processing, etc. that there’s little energy left for creative expression.

Even so, there are still ways to find freeing limits in photography. For the entire time I’ve been doing photography seriously, I’ve used the same camera and the same lens. Of course I would LOVE to upgrade, but it’s not in the budget. And that has forced me to push my tools to their absolute limit. I’ve learned to do more with my measly camera and not-so-impressive lens than most people think possible, And it has made me appreciate the beauty and creative freedom that comes with limitation.

Just this weekend I watched a mind-blowing film about paper folders. Yes, paper folders. As in origami. Now before I lose you here, let me assure you that this is NOT your kindergarten version of origami. These people are taking one single sheet of paper – no scissors, no tape, no glue – and they are making extraordinarily expressive pieces of art, complex mathematical models, and even contributing to medical research. Talk about working with a limited medium!

I’m posting the trailer here for you. I hope you get hooked and want to see the whole thing. It’s an hour long and you can watch it on Netflix or even here on YouTube.

For the artists out there, this is something to be inspired by and to learn from. And for the non-artists out there, I think this is something that could be applicable to all of life. Maybe we don’t always need something new to work with. Maybe extraordinary things are possible with what we already have.


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