In the Japanese art of aikido, the concept of ‘chou-wa’ relates to spiritual harmony. This can refer to harmony with one’s opponent, but the idea is not limited to the dojo; it extends to every aspect of life, not least what you do with it. For example, when your daughter asks you to help with a project involving photography and you find passion and talent for the art (while also discovering a great creative partner, model and muse), you give due consideration to taking it up more seriously.
That’s precisely what Nikki Smith (aka Citizen) did. Nikki’s work with book covers is another example of her application of spiritual harmony, since she did not initially set out to create them, but certainly views them as a pleasing accomplishment. And indeed they are: the photographer has now produced so many that you’ll find them bursting the seams of two separate Collections – ‘Published Work’ and ‘Published Work II’.
What Nikki does set out to do is to evoke emotion, intrigue or simple enjoyment from the viewer by telling stories through her work. This is rarely a process of producing specific images for already existing stories, rather one whereby the story and the shot are created and then, in her own words, ‘if it gets used, then great’. She is also in her element during the editing process, where the aim is to create ‘a mood and an atmosphere or an emotional depth’. Nikki’s emotion-filled images are heartfelt personal expressions. Excellent grounds for exercising your chou-wa!
See Nikki Smith’s full portfolio here.