Fall share artist, Nina Garner, creates work that moves between photography, collage, sculpture, and assemblage.  Her pieces are intricate compositions that “glorify moments in time, the beauty in nature, and people.”  Read on to see how Nina is inspired by the past and present in the creation of her work.


A big influence on my work are vintage mementos created by ordinary people during the mid 19th to mid 20th century. During this time it was common for people to decorate photographs as a way to strengthen the emotional ties to the loved ones photographed. The time and dedication it took to create these intricate mementos, as well as the creativity behind them is fascinating to me. These were not created as art but as object, painstakingly created through the act of remembrance. I try to adopt this same concept to my own work by embellishing my photographs with fabric, paper, insects, flowers, leaves and even hair.


I love books with torn pages and heartfelt inscriptions, handwritten letters, love notes, dedicated piano music and records. I love the mystery behind them.

I love the idea of family heirlooms, objects passed down through generations, rich with history and tradition. I don’t have very many heirlooms myself and I think that is why I have such a fascination with them. I like looking at items, such as quilts, baby clothes, handkerchiefs and jewelry at antique and vintage store because to me those are the kinds of items I consider to be heirlooms. I like to think that at one point someone loved these items and that maybe they were their family’s heirlooms. But the fact that they are being sold and then bought by me suggests otherwise. In turn, I like to give these things new life by incorporating them into my work and then maybe they will be heirlooms for my family someday.


I draw a lot of inspiration from nature. While on photo shoots I like to collect leaves, fungus, flowers and insects and incorporate them into my work. But nature is also a great source of color and pattern inspiration for me. I mean, come on, look at that birds feathers!


Lately I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration from craft and party supply stores. First off, it’s fun. I like the festive nature of it all, the vivid colors and the all the whimsy. I also like the contrast between these synthetic materials with natural, found materials.



I like to watch movies. I like all kinds of movies but one of my favorite movies is LATE SPRING by Japanese film maker Yasujiro Ozu. It’s a story set in post war Japan about the relationship between a father and his only daughter. It’s a simple story structured around the very ordinary, everyday life of this small family but it is rich with emotion. It makes me cry everytime. What’s great about this film though is that all the shots are so meticulously planned and each still could be a photograph on its own. I love the little details and the way Ozu frames his subjects. You get a real sense of the characters and the lives they live. It’s not complicated or over the top and I like that. It’s something I want for my own work.


A great influence on my work is Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto. The instant I saw his work I knew there was a place for me in the photography world. On one hand he is a traditionalist in that he uses 35mm film photography and darkroom techniques but on other hand he is doing his own thing by staining his prints with tea and printing very small. Every print is different and tells it’s own story but at the same time each print works together to weave a larger narrative. It’s magical.


Another photographer I greatly admire is Sally Mann. I love her series entitled ‘Deep South’ which includes photographs taken throughout Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia. These images are so haunting and ethereal. Just stunning.


There is a lot of fine art photography and photographers that I draw inspiration from but I love everyday, ordinary photography just as much, specifically vintage snapshot photography. I love the vacation photos, the family portraits, the first day of school, the clothes, the hairstyles…they are so authentic and rich with memories.


Nina Garner is one of the 2015 Fall share artists.