Nicole’s Words

In Interview on March 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm


The photographer and environmental lawyer, Nicole Kibert, also known as Elawgrrl, is the person you want behind you because she’s incredibly encouraging, and the person you want next to you because of her positive attitude and bubbliness. Once you meet her, it isn’t long before you know exactly what she’s about: travel, photography, and her heart and hometown of Tampa flourishing. Here are her words.

What are some of the things you’re sure of now that you weren’t sure of in your twenties?

1. Gratitude – how being grateful about all the splendid people and things in your life brings more goodness your way.

2. Time – My mom was right about how to assess who to spend your time with… If someone or something adds to your life in some way, you should spend time and energy on them. If someone or something is negative, then don’t spend a moment worrying about them or doing stuff you don’t want to do, especially out of some misguided sense of obligation. The only thing we know for certain is that our time here is finite and you should spend it with people who enhance rather than detract from your life.

3. Money – It’s important to consider how financial decisions that you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. Go to the cheapest, best school you can go to… don’t go to graduate school just because you can’t think of anything else to do and definitely make sure that your likely income will support living and school loans after graduation. And, don’t charge it.

4. Do it anyway – The money comment aside, don’t wait to pursue your dreams, no matter what. You don’t want to be that person in their thirties who wishes they had done x, y or z and are now completely bitter about it.

What’s something you’re still not sure of now?

Why I don’t always follow my own advice. Ha.

What’s something you’d like to try out that you haven’t yet?

Music is an integral part of my life but I haven’t written any music yet. I was in a band briefly in college, but I was the not-so-good singer. So, I’m learning guitar and looking forward to trying my hand at writing some music in the near future.

What have you been thinking about the most lately?

How to move beyond rhetoric to meaningful solutions, which has two main obstacles.

1. THINK – Social Media is such a tremendous asset, but it encourages sound bites and gut reactions rather than well-reasoned, thought out responses to problems. And, I think we have a lot of problems that have solutions out there – we just need to take the time to develop the best solution. I have a sign in my house that simply implores you to “THINK”, and while this is a simple command, it is actually very challenging to be present in the moment and think about one issue and possible solutions for any amount of time because something interesting could be happening on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram right now. If you’re not careful you end up in a continuous loop of not creating yourself, but rather constantly consuming content or checking if other people are consuming and appreciating the content you posted. An example: if I post a cute photo of my dogs or photo of myself wearing a crown, it will often get 10x the amount of interest as a post about writing to your legislators about a terrible bill for Florida. While it is nice that people like my photos, it would be better for society if more people would engage on interacting with legislators too. The problem is that is much easier to click ‘Like’ on a photo than it is to call your representative or write an email.

2. LONG-TERM DECISION-MAKING – My primary focus is on sustainability which on the surface should appeal to everyone since it balances the needs of the environment, economy and people to make the best decisions about how to develop. Unfortunately, short term decision making is the name of the game for power centers for profits (quarterly reports), politicians (next election) and even for us as individuals. It’s important to recognize when you might be impacting the ability to have the best long term future for yourself and the community by demanding a certain outcome right now. An easy example: It takes a long time to grow a shade tree but someone had to be willing to plant that tree knowing full well they likely wouldn’t live long enough to fully enjoy it themselves.

What are you looking for when you photograph?

I seek to capture the essence of a moment in time – the momentary magic. I specialize in live music photography and while music is auditory, the first experience most people have with a band is visual. I seek to capture the essence of live music performances to set the stage for listening to a band or accompanying the first or millionth listen. I posit that only music has the answer.

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Webster Hall 9.30.12
(Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls at Webster Hall / 9.30.2013. This is an example of a capture of momentary magic when Frank Turner taught 1,400 people how to play air harmonica and they actually all did it simultaneously.)

What’s the last photo you took?

Yay! An easy question… this photo of the silhouette building in Atlanta yesterday afternoon.

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 5.51.56 PM

It’s part of my 4th ‘365 project’. A ‘365 project’ is where a photographer captures at least one image a day. My personal ‘365 challenge’ is to capture something every day that isn’t live music photography, but I annotate the photo with illustrative song lyrics. The link to my 2013 ‘365 project’ in progress is here.

What happens to you when your photograph?

I am focused entirely on what I’m capturing… My friends make fun of how completely absorbed I get when I’m shooting. And that singular focus is why I like to have someone nearby when I’m shooting to let me know if someone is going to jump on my head at a show.

I know you’re an avid traveler, too, which is wonderful! What happens to you when you travel? What are the kinds of things you lose yourself in? What about that challenge you?

Traveling is a core part of my life. The best thing about traveling is the realization that people are the same everywhere and that happiness very truly comes from within no matter where you live or what you do. Along the way, you learn about how to do things in different ways and how to be adaptable and resilient. Traveling brings out the happiness in my soul in a way that few other activities do.

Noratus Cemetery 9.28.11Noratus Cemetery, Armenia.

Kostnice Ossuary Kutna Hora 9.21.11Bone Cathedral – Kostnice Ossuary  Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Sea Lion - Cormorant Point (Floreana) - Galapagos 2.3.09Getting dive bombed by a seal lion in the Galapagos.

Tsaatan Mother and Child - MongoliaA lovely Tsaatan mother and child, Mongolia.

What is it about Tampa that makes you happy to come home from a trip?

It’s simple – Tampa is home. I’m frequently asked why I don’t live in New York or Austin or some other hipster hot spot and the answer is that nowhere else has the unique attributes that make Tampa an ideal community to foster creativity in an environment with unparalleled beauty. Tampa bay is not perfect by any means, but in the past 10 years that I’ve been back in Tampa, the commitment to community building has grown by leaps and bounds for music, art, bicycling, sustainability, etc. It’s awesome that I have continual conflicts about what to do since there are so many great things happening here. It’s possible to make things happen here and to find people who are willing to help make your dreams a reality. It’s not like that everywhere.

Finish these sentences:

I love: color.
I’m always looking for: new ways to engage and expand my horizons as a lawyer, a photographer and a human.
I often tell myself: do it anyway.
I can’t stand: meanness – just be kind.

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