The Emotional Value of Photography- Interview with Téa Nicole


Téa Nicole is a third-year Film and Creative Writing. She writes confessional, intimate and experimental poetry, and is greatly interested in Eastern philosophy, eco-spirituality and psychedelia. I spoke to Tea about the emotional, deeply personal and often nostalgic quality of polaroid photography.

So, Téa, what do you use to take your photographs?

I use my iPhone, a Fujifilm mini polaroid and a Nikon D3200. I’ve had my polaroid for about six years and my camera for nine, and they naturally hold a lot of sentimental value for me. It’s touching for me to think about how much time I’ve had them for and how many beautiful memories they froze for me. However, I find myself often avoiding using my camera. I use my phone and my polaroid instead, as I am very drawn to candid photography and I feel like the two capture ‘the moment’ more. I’ve noticed that people usually become tense when they see a professional camera and are more likely to ‘perform’ themselves instead of just being.

Your photography encompasses a really soft and nostalgic feel; as a writer, is the emotional quality of capturing images important to you?

As photography mainly represents a way of preserving memories for me, I find that my feelings often dictate whether I want to take a photo or not. If I am touched by intense emotion, be it negative or positive, I capture my surroundings. Even the photos of landscapes that I take instantaneously evoke what I experienced at that moment. Photos preserve my inner world, which greatly helps my writing process.

Your photography has a dream-like quality stylistically, with dust-flecks and pale filters, making your photographs feel like tiny evocative memories.

Thank you! To an extent, I do believe that nostalgia is the reason I take photos. I do not consider myself a ‘photographer’ by any means, but I deeply enjoy taking photos of everything that surrounds me: people that I love, animals that warm my heart, the beauty of places I find myself in. My polaroid photos are plastered on the frames of my mirrors. I started decorating my room like this the year that I left my home in Romania and moved here at university. My first month in the UK was overwhelming and I couldn’t help feeling lonely and homesick. However, waking up every morning to see the loving faces of my close friends and family smiling at me from the walls of my dorm greatly comforted me. Photos also help me express gratitude for the past and embrace the changes of the present.

What is your dream photography travel destination?

India, probably. I am fascinated by India’s rich culture and I have a deep respect for the wise, esoteric Hindu philosophy. I dream of visiting during Diwali, the Festival of Lights. The photos I’ve seen, from friends and online strangers, are astonishing. It would be such a wonder to be there, to capture the profoundness and intensity of this enchanting experience, to further share it with the world.

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