EC student creates magic with a camera


“I like the more darker stuff the macabre stuff, like something you see in a Tim Burton or Guillermo Del Toro film,” Bethany Caitlan Nicole, 27, film major. Photo credit: Kevin Caparoso

Photography is the act of capturing a moment in a single frame. The moment that is being taken may reside in reality but an artist can convey this image in whichever way they choose.

The potential of artistry in a picture rely on the sheer power of one’s creativity.

It is kind of like magic to photographer Bethany Caitlan Nicole, a 27-year-old film major.

“The photos I put out are very intricate in detail and the original image rarely looks like the final image,” Nicole said. “There’s a lot of digital painting and editing and everything that goes into it and in that respect it’s like a magic trick.”

Nicole credits her father for all of her creativity as he was a magician and she would assist his shows at the Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington.

Her love of art, music, and oddities all come from him.

“If anyone has to question why I am the way I am and they don’t like it,” Nicole said. “It’s my dad’s fault.”

Other influences of hers include filmmakers Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro and she considers her photography style “dark conceptual gothic.”

“Most of my work is self portrait photography and a lot of the elements I have in those portraits are skulls and snakes,” Nicole said.

“I do like the idea of making people feel maybe uncomfortable with my art at times.”Bethany Caitlan Nicole, 27, film major said. “I know a lot of people don’t like snakes but I love using them.” Photo credit: Kevin Caparoso

Nicole’s photography has been showcased in art shows like Fresh Meat at The Dark Arts Emporium in Long Beach on Apr. 7, 2018.

Her first art show was at the library in EC.

“El Camino pretty much got me started in all that and helped me realize that I can get my work in places where people would want to see it,” Nicole said.

Nicole was encouraged by her photography professor to apply for a exhibit in the library.

“Bethany has participated in our exhibitions and her work is so beautiful, so moving, so well done that I did encourage her to apply for an exhibition of her own,” Darilyn Rowan, professor of photography said.

Rowan’s beginning photography class was a requirement for Nicole’s film courses and she took the class during the fall semester of 2016.

“I would say that she is one of the most brilliant and gifted students in my 30 years of teaching here,” Rowan said.

“It was really an honor to be one of her teachers,” Darilyn Rowan said.

Rowan’s encouragement and the experience of seeing her photography displayed in public inspired Nicole to pursue art shows.

“Just getting my stuff up on the wall was like really surreal.” Nicole said. “To see everything up there I was like wow.”

Bethany Caitlan Nicole, 27, film major with her pet snake named Baltazar. Photo credit: Kevin Caparoso

Nicole mostly does self portraits but a subject she often photographs is her sister Aria Chablis King, 18, undeclared.

Nicole’s “unconventional” style of photography has been challenging at times for her sister to model.

“It hasn’t been the easiest to try to like fulfill some of the requests but the photos always turn out really wonderfully in the end and the hard work is really worth it,” King said.

A photo that was difficult for King to model was one of her floating in the air while pouring a cup of tea. The effect was done practically and she had to physically jump in air with a tea pot.

“It probably took a hundred photos before we got the perfect one and so it was very physically exerting,” King said.

That particular photo was published in the Photographer’s Forum Best of College Photography in 2017 which is an annual international student competition for photography and was featured as an honorable mention.

Rowan said the competition receives 15,000 to 20,000 photograph entries in color, black and white, and digital each year.

“And they select out of those thousands of entries 100 honorable mentions,” Rowan said.

Nicole considers her conceptual photography “her art” but also enjoys photographing concerts as well.

She has a deep appreciation for music and loves musicians who have a more theatrical approach to their performances.

Nicole will reach out to a musician or a band she’s interested in when they come to Los Angeles during a tour to ask for permission to take photos during their show.

“I haven’t gotten a no yet,” Nicole said.

The first concert Nicole photographed was of the progressive-metal-band Tesseract and the instrumentalist Plini at the Regent Theater on May 3, 2018.

“I was like I want to see if I can do this,” Nicole said. “And I did it.”

Nicole sometimes feels the need to step away from photography every now and then so she could come back to it with a fresh perspective.

“By stepping away from it I am not allowing myself to like you know do it,” Nicole said. “And usually when you can’t do something is when you start getting all the ideas to want to do it.”

Stepping away from it also helps Nicole balance her artistic endeavors with school.

“It’s definitely taking little steps everyday type of thing,” Nicole said. “Where you put a little bit of focus everywhere you can everyday and it will get you closer to your goal.”

Update: 7:40  p.m., Oct. 31. A grammatical error was corrected for accuracy. Attribution was added the Block-quote.