Thought Catalog

18-Year-Old Nirrimi Hakanson’s Career In Fashion Photography Is Impressive

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The first word that comes to mind when considering Nirrimi’s career in fashion photography is “impressive.” At 18 years old, Nirrimi has already been signed to work on campaigns for brands such as DIESEL and Billabong. A prodigious photographer from Queensland, Nirrimi’s work belies her age and her photography is well beyond her years. Here, Nirrimi recounts how she first fell in love with photography, what influences her style and what’s next for this self proclaimed ‘gypsy with a camera’.

Daniel: Nirrimi, thanks for your time. I’m a big fan of photography and was stunned by your portfolio, and by how young you are! You are “newly 18? right? I must ask, although you are young and new to the industry – has fashion photography changed since you first joined it?

Nirrimi: Luckily I see the industry and fashion photography embracing more of what is real. I hope it keeps steering toward the natural, and I hope I have a positive effect on that.

Daniel: Tell us about yourself, where are you from where did all of this begin for you?

Nirrimi: I’m from a little town close to the sun where I grew up with my mother and siblings. I’ve been creating my whole life, and just got consumed by photography when I was 13. I was crazy with all the beauty around me and just wanted a way to record it. I moved out a few years later and began traveling the world.

Daniel:When did you discover photography?

Nirrimi: I know I took many photos as a child, but it wasn’t until I became a teenager that it became this obsession.

Daniel: Do you like fashion or photography best?

Nirrimi: I do fashion photography because it gives me so much creative freedom and takes me all over the world. I’ve never really understood fashion though. My head is too caught up in other things.

Daniel: What has been your most rewarding achievement as an artist?

Nirrimi: Awards always make me feel special, but it’s little things that are really rewarding for me. Like overhearing a stranger talking passionately about my photographs or turning down a big job just because it would mean being disloyal to my style.

Daniel: What is your biggest dream? And have you accomplished that?

Nirrimi: I’d love to make films, to live near the sea, to have a child and give them an inspired life and to have my own exhibitions often. So many of my dreams have come true in the last few years and I feel so grateful for it all.

Daniel: Who’s your favorite photographer and who do you draw your inspirations from?

Nirrimi: I’ve always had a soft spot for Sally Mann. I draw inspiration from books, films, strangers and the world.

Daniel: What has been your favorite shoot so far?

Nirrimi: I am going on a big road trip through Europe to shoot a campaign in a few weeks and I have a feeling that will be incredible.

Daniel: What are the tools that a photographer cannot live without?

Nirrimi: A camera, an open mind and motivation.

Daniel: I’ve noticed a collaboration between you and DIESEL. How did this collaboration form?

Nirrimi: They were fans of my imagery. They flew me over to New York to shoot their winter campaign, it was the first time I’d been to America. It was crazy.

Daniel: What’s next for Nirrimi?

Nirrimi: Flying to New Zealand to shoot an album cover in a few days, Europe road trip for Billabong a week later, an exhibition in New York, shooting in L.A., holiday in Lake Tahoe and a trip around Asia for my birthday in August. I also just did a tee shirt line through Milk & Honey and my lover shot a film for them. There is so much good to come.

Daniel: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years?

Nirrimi: I’ll never shake this wanderlust. I’ll have a little child or two, take them everywhere with me on wild adventures. We’ll be this artist gypsy family who follows the summer. I will shoot enough campaigns to get by happily. I will own a home near water with acres of untamed backyard. Everything will always be okay. TC mark

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    • Amy Brown

      i’m annoyed.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/spamusubi/ Tori

        Annoyed at one?

    • http://twitter.com/alinatrifan Alina Trifan

      Great interview! Thank you for it.
      I simply love nirrimi’s photographs. She’s fascinating.
      And when I think i have the same age as her…it’s sort of sad.

    • dip

      I think I had a lot more fun doing jack shit when I was 18.

    • yeowch

      seems like you googled “how to interview a creative person” and used those questions

    • Anonymous

      She is both inspiring and depressing, at least when I realize that I haven’t really done much for being 18. Damn prodigies, always making me feel sub-par. 

    • Sarahmaile

      boring.The internet is full of nirrimis, girly photos low depth of field and annoying photoshop editing. This makes me want to hate photography. 

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/spamusubi/ Tori

        The internet is not full of Nirrimi’s. The world is not full of one person who is the exact copy of another person (Except for Identical Twins and even they are or can be quite different). That is her style although her editing is quite nice and there are many portrait photographers who use low depth of field. To hate photography because of one person, especially for a reason that does not hurt you? Smh.

    • http://marielia.tumblr.com Mari

      Conflicted. I like her style, but her answers to this interview are definitely that of an 18 year old.

      • spinflux

        Imagine that.

      • spinflux

        Imagine that.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        I’m curious – why can’t you both like her photos & accept that an 18 year old would answer questions… well, like an 18 year old?

        • http://marielia.tumblr.com Mari

          Well…that’s why I’m conflicted. I like her style, or rather, her intent, but not the finished product.  It’s obvious (from the photos) that she has some talent, but so is the fact that she is young. 

        • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

          So, to be clear, you’re saying, “I like the idea you’re trying to make art but not the art itself.” And you accredit this to age, not style.

          Your reason still boils down to not liking her for being a kid when she IS a kid. How silly!

    • Lola

      She’s the most unconventional teenage mother ever.

    • Compact Discowrld

      She’s a dreamer, let her be.

    • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

      Cool!  “Deeper” questions would have been nice but I’m just glad this is about Creating. Also good to see that “alternative” parenting styles can make a difference.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      so inspiring~

    • blob

      something corny is going on

    • Lou

      In the one picture where you can see the garment, its a red bra and some spanks and a pair of heels covered in shadow. Daniel Haim, you are a know-nothing hack. 

    • Agus

      I absolutely adore this photographer. I’ve been following her since she was in DeviantArt about three years ago. Truly inspiring and amazing how an 18 year old can get so far in life, driven by passion and love for summer.

      • blob

        yay summer! jk lol

    • Sally Mate

      awwwww so dreamy! so cute! so inspiring!and she’s only 18! 

      just kidding, she’s just got an expensive camera and an internet connexion

      h8 u internet

      • http://twitter.com/MissKimball misskimball

        dreamy nirrimi

        • Sallymate

          still h8 u internet

    • No Hate

      I didn’t know there were professional lookbookers.

    • Mary

      Wow, she is amazing! 

    • Rumblr

      This is so going on my tumblr

      • Guesty

        this shit is soooooooo tumblr

    • federico

      without the internet she would be nothing

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        … which could be said of most anyone doing anything that winds up on the internet? #uhoh

        • http://twitter.com/vickstahs Vicky Nguyen

          hear hear.

          Everyone is so critical of young talent. You’re not happy when Gen Y is achieving, and you’re not happy when they’re fucking up. Make up your minds, folks. You can’t have it all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001702321197 Sasha Jones

      This is stupid and boring. #bleak

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/spamusubi/ Tori

        I disagree, both her and her boyfriend have wonderful work. Although, of course, there is no reason for you to like it or for you to pay attention to them?

    • Guesty

      seems like some cross-processed tumblr bullshit

    • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

      I’d think that most of the negative commenters were “jealous”…  but after seeing the portfolios they all helpfully posted links to, I’ve gotta say: fucking *impressed*, bitches.

      • Guesty

        ty

        • Cheeseburger

          yw

      • Joe Jaune

        jealousy OR maybe we’re all sick to see the same shit everyday on the internet. Maybe some people have better taste than this ? 

        • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

          Maybe anyone who thinks everything on the internet is “the same shit”  has less “taste” than they think they have?  Maybe you’re making the *Consumer 101*  mistake of thinking that knowing what *you* like is the same thing as having taste?

          I see a lot of standard/boring/ugly/inarticulate  sniping, in this thread, and not a single interesting/educated critique (accusing her work of looking like “a Tumblr” is fairly stupid, given the total range of photographic work on Tumblr) , from a bunch of people who resent not the work (which is more interesting than a lot of fashion photography out there) but the Life the photographer seems to have.  Like I expect anyone to confess that! Laugh

          The “hate” is out of proportion to the “crime” (18-year-old with a cool job).  Go make something, post a link to it, affirm your aesthetic  superiority and earn your bitchery.

        • Hamburger

            yeah I still think she just has an expensive camera and i still can’t see any creativity or genuine original idea and i still hate the colors and i still hate the deja-vu feeling i get when i see her photos and I still think what matters in photography is to have your own point of view and i don’t see that in her work. At all. No jaleousy in this,some people are just less easily impressed than others. I would never say that about olivia bee for example(who’s also a teenage photographer if you don’t know her). I’m glad oliva shoots for Fiat or Nike or gets featured in Foam. She’s talented. But nirrimi? oh common.  no , definitely no.never.ever.

        • Guest

          Most of her work in deviantart are shot with a point-and-shoot and later a 400D. She’s been getting recognized since she was 14/15. The colour and deja-vu feeling that you getting from her pictures, isn’t that her point of view? Her own style? Which unfortunately you do not like.

          So many adults these days after the digital age of camera think they can pick up a nice DSLR from their nicely paying job and proclaim themselves a “photographer.” 

          Well, shit, thats why Nirrimi is going around the globe getting appreciated by her clients, and those adults? Well, they go on an shoot weddings and church events with their nice lil’ camera and L lenses.

          A nice camera can take you that far buddy. But not as far as her talent can take her. Not even close there bud, sorry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198922828 Marianna Elvira

      I’ve been following her for a while, and her photography and writing (she has a blog) are both incredible. These negative comments are uncalled for, honestly.

      • Guesty

        you’re uncalled for

    • Anonymous

      She really does seem to understand light in a way many “tumblr girls with cameras” do not. I don’t understand her idealistic desire for children though, especially not when she’s still so young.

    • Anonymous

      She really does seem to understand light in a way many “tumblr girls with cameras” do not. I don’t understand her idealistic desire for children though, especially not when she’s still so young.

      • Lola

        It’s less of a desire, more of the fact that she’s pregnant right now.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah I know, it’s the fact that she seems to want to be.

        • Kovian

          Unlike most teenage parents, and people. How bizarre, right? She is so wrong!

        • Georgie

          just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong..
          the best parenting she has done so far is to actually WANT her child. unlike the parents you speak of.

        • Nishat

          Nirrimi makes a living and supports herself, as does her boyfriend. She’s been living with him for awhile and they have a stable relationship and are able to provide for a child economically but more so in love. Nirrimi is going to be a wonderful mother.

        • Kovian

          (I was being sarcastic – too many haters in this comment thread. War!)

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