Artist of the Week, Abigail Nelson / Nora Devin / Director of Photography

By: Lydia Simmons, Arts and Culture Editor

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and for senior Abigail Nelson taking photos is a way for her to capture these stories and see life from a more in-depth perspective. Nelson is a media studies major with a concentration in media writing and a minor in Spanish at USM. 


Photography is something that has been a part of Nelson’s life since she was a kid. As a young child she began taking photos with a little yellow play camera that she would carry around, and snap photos of the different things she saw in her everyday life. Since the little yellow camera Nelson has graduated to bigger and better toys over the years. She currently shoots with a Canon 6D Mark II that she got last summer. 


When asked what drew her to photography Nelson replied, “I’m not entirely sure what drew me to the hobby, but I love holding on to memories and creating art. For me, that is exactly what photography allows me to do, both for myself and for clients.”


While Nelson enjoys photographing nature, flowers, and waves, she also really enjoys portrait photography. “People, I think, are fascinating to photograph. I love capturing different types of emotion and styles in a variety of settings,” she said “Life radiates out in people’s expressions and movements, making the photographs always unique and symbolic of different values. It is so fun to highlight a person’s personality through photographs.” Asking what type of photography she thought she was best at was a little harder to answer with Nelson, admitting that she is a pretty harsh critic of herself. She came to the conclusion that she thought she was best at portrait photography because some of her favorite photos are taken portrait style. 

Image courtesy of Abigail Nelson

What started as a hobby Nelson has worked to turn into a profession. She started her own photography venture in the summer of 2020 where she began taking senior pictures for her sister and some of her sister’s classmates. From there she expanded to different kinds of shoots including families, couples, friends, and single portraits. She is also able to add wedding photography to her repertoire as she has had the opportunity to photograph some small weddings as well.


Not only has Nelson been able to do photography professionally through working as a writer and editor for a couple magazines and a newspaper over the past couple years where she would often take photographs for her own stories. Looking to the future Nelson hopes that she will be able to incorporate taking photos and writing into her plans. Growing her photography business is a goal of hers, whether it becomes her full time job or if she does it on the side.

Image courtesy of Abigail Nelson

For Nelson being a photographer is something special and so when she was asked what her favorite aspect of being a photographer was there was no way she could give just one answer. For her, one of her favorite parts is getting the chance to slow down and really take in the beauty of the world around her, which is something that she encourages more people to do. She also enjoys getting to meet new people through photography and helping them capture moments and memories that will last a lifetime. 


While being a photographer another one of Nelson’s favorite things has been being able to see her own growth through the improvement of her skills and photos from where she began to where she is today. After years of photography looking back a photographer most likely has a thing or two they would like to tell their beginner self. When asked about advice to her younger self Nelson responded, “Learn the basics, and be patient. Don’t expect to know everything and be a pro overnight. Take your camera everywhere you go,” she said. “Look at your subject from different angles. Take bad photos and use them as lessons on how to improve your skill and style. Overall, have confidence and don’t be afraid of a no.” This is advice that could help out any aspiring photographers out there, advice that has been formed out of years of creativity, hard work, and passion, all three qualities of a true artist.  


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