Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Conversation with Nina Büsing Corvallo

Fauna I (Ghost) © Nina Büsing Corvallo

I first met Nina during the first days of the MA program we attended at NYU/ICP. I was immediately drawn to her as a person, but through the many critiques we endured together, I really became close with her work as well. Knowing the person behind the art has always enhanced my appreciation for the work. Some viewers like to take work at face value - to see if it can stand alone without the crutch of a personality. Knowing Nina has (as I see it) added another dimension to her work. Her images are serene, yet mystical; familiar yet other-worldly. It's the kind of work that envelopes you like a blanket on a cold, rainy day and you never want to get out from underneath it.

Thus, we are extremely excited to present this conversation with Nina Büsing Corvallo, a co-founder of Nymphoto.

Theory of Pink I; Ferro I (Schimmelreiter) © Nina Büsing Corvallo

Nymphoto: Tell us a little about yourself.

Nina Büsing Corvallo: Corvallo is a nom de plume.
I like to record everything. I think in images and I have a slightly photographic memory - which came in handy when studying art history. I originally thought of painting as my medium, but I love the non-preciousness inherent in photography.

NP: How did you discover photography?

NBC: As a true child of the seventies, my first camera was a pocket 110 camera. It was a gift from a neighbor who worked for a European jean company. The camera was swag and had a logo for the jean company on it. I was probably about five when I received that camera, and I have been taking pictures ever since. I still have a soft spot for cheap cameras.

from the 'Fauna' series (moon & sky)© Nina Büsing Corvallo

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

NBC: I can be moved or find beauty in anything. Other artists inspire me, but so can the face of
a horse or the color of grass. I like the mundane and the extraordinary. In terms of what drives my photography, I am not sure I would call it inspiration. It's more about the motivation and the
compulsion to capture something - the need to hold on to a moment or to visualize an experience. I also thrive on exploring opposites and extremes. I live in downtown Manhattan, but when I travel I enjoy being in completely non-urban environments. I love the dynamic of going in and out of different worlds, probably because I grew up in several cultures.

Man & Stag © Nina Büsing Corvallo

NP: How do your projects come about?

NBC: A lot of my work is the distillation of memories and wanting to revisit or share a feeling, truth or an aesthetic. I had a fantastic early childhood that was filled with lots of travel, community, friends and play. My parents left me plenty of room and time for creativity and thinking. I think most of our person is formed in childhood, and my work is certainly informed by my childhood experience. I always have and continue to read a lot: books, newspapers, the Internet, magazines. The information I absorb ends up in my photographs. Sometimes it is very literal: I'll read about an event or see a picture of a landscape, and a couple of weeks later, or sometimes much later, I am on my way to that place. Other times, the process is less linear.
Either way, I like to see things for myself.

from the series' Fauna' (Rest & Leaf) © Nina Büsing Corvallo

NP: You photograph a lot of horses. Why is that?

NBC: Everyone who knows me knows that I love horses. Probably one of the first pictures I ever took or drew was of an animal. A lot of my recent work has focused on one particular horse that is retired on my parents-in-law's farm. We named him Mountain. Just like people, horses are distinct and project differently in photographs. Mountain is my muse. I take pictures of everything, but keep coming back to photographing horses. I like how much freer I am in portraying them. The interpretation of the horse is less constricted and dependent on culture,
and thus, ultimately more transcendent.

Ferro II (Schimmelreiter) ; Fauna VI (Flower) © Nina Büsing Corvallo

NP: What's next?

NBC: I recently traveled to the Arctic Circle, and I would like to explore the Arctic further. My husband said that because I dragged him to one of the coldest places on earth, he will take me to one of the hottest. So, I think a trip to Death Valley might be in the near future, or maybe the Namib Desert.

NP: Thank you so much!

To see more of Nina's work, please visit (for her travel work) and (for her fine art work) - as well as her insightful blog:

1 comment:

Tema Stauffer said...

Your work looks fantastic - like scenes from a fairy tale.

Look forward to the show.