Nicole Schwartz is a female photographer from the Pine Barren’s of New Jersey. She was first taught photography at the age of six by her late grandfather. After his death in 2007, Schwartz’s hobby became her passion and it prompted Nicole to continue her education in Photography. In 2014, Nicole graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA with a Bachelor of Science in Photography and minors in art history and entrepreneurship with honors. She is currently a MFA photography candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI with expected graduation in June of 2017.
Four Eggs and a Hummingbird
As a child, I mostly remember looking up at trees, smelling musky pine in the air, and hearing absolute silence at night. What makes my family experience unique is I not only grew up in this home, but I stayed, as did my brother. Home and family became a sanctuary. In this place, I could be a version of myself that the outside world didn’t see. In return, I was a different person when I was away from my family and the confinements of my home. The continuous routine of returning to a safe place, decompressing, and hiding, greatly comforted me. Home was and still is a space of love and closeness. It was only when I left my family home two years ago, at the age of twenty-three, that I was able to realize the protective mental block home provided for me. Events that occurred outside of the home and family unit that I had kept away from my family began to invade my daily thoughts more vividly. No longer was I privileged with a space that provided an escape, and I longed for it as well as the comfort of family’s daily presence. My mental state became convoluted as I no longer could hide from what I had previously kept repressed. I found myself latching onto familial memories, reimagining, and experiencing the nostalgia of them to try and maintain that same level of comfort, using one set of memories to guard against another. This process became a failed attempt at mental restructuring where I was flooded with the memories of my family history, as well as the realization of the burden of the secrets that I had been carrying, not only from my family, but from myself.
To view more of Nicole’s work please visit her website.