Photos and artwork by Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
Since she was young, Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder couldn’t be found without paper, a pencil and paintbrushes.
“(I) have always had a drive for creativity in me,” she said.
“A Furious Woman” by Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
By her early high school years, she received her first digital camera and began pushing her creativity in a different medium and exploring the artistic possibilities of photography.
“Hiding,” self-portrait by Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
It started with Snyder taking self-portraits and photographing friends, and “it slowly turned into something that I got paid for and knew that I wanted to do for a career,” she said.
“Corrupted,” self-portrait by Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
As a senior of fine arts at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Snyder was able to immerse herself in portraiture and photographing beauty as it is present in life, nature, emotion, dignity and adventure through photography courses. She said she’s drawn to series that implement motion blur and movement within the pieces, along with color manipulation and bending reality through editing.
By Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
“As of now, I am going to continue working in my freelance photography business, Nikayla Elizabeth Photography, doing weddings, engagements and other portrait sessions,” she said. “I would love to work for someone else and implement my skills into a business where I can share my creativity too. I am very open-minded about my future.”
Although she prefers to be behind the camera, she always finds herself going back to her artistic roots and continues to dip regularly into other mediums, such as drawing, painting, ceramics and printmaking.
“Her Trinity” by Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
“My dream as an artist is to be a gateway for people to see love in its physical form of beauty and creativity,” Snyder said.
“Skeletons” by Nikayla Elizabeth Cecelia Snyder
Last semester at MSUM, Snyder was required to create a photo series for her senior exhibit. The focus of the series was of the student’s choosing.
“This series for me began as a deep love for and fascination with Catholicism and a very wonderful man named Saint John Paul II. In January, I heard a woman speak about a letter that he wrote to women in the mid-90s, ‘Letter to Women,’ calling women to be confident in their identity and dignity and telling us all that we are important and strong,” she said. “In this letter, he outlines some very key characteristics about women and how we supplement the world so intensely.”
Snyder photographed eight women that she felt strived to be their best in each of characteristics outlined by Saint John Paul II: strength, fidelity, acceptance, self-giving, generosity, sensitivity, beauty and receptivity.
“The images are soft, bright and powerful, especially as a series but individually as well,” she said. “Each of my photographs in this series, ‘The Feminine Genius,’ embodies one of these traits in a specific way. Each woman I chose to use in these photographs particularly seeks to exemplify this word in her life. Not only are these characteristics present in all women in a special and unique way, but they are crucial in the continuing of humanity itself.”