Nikki Sigrist

Artist Biography

I am a photographer, singer, and theater performer who is always looking for ways to marry my multiple interests. I have never been the type of person to choose one path to follow. I strongly believe that if there are multiple things that interest you, try them all. I first started photography in high school, mostly photographing nature and still lifes. I remember how connected I felt to the camera like it was a way of documenting the world through my eyes. I never had a true opportunity to photograph people until coming to college. That’s where things started to fall into place. I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to guiding my models on how to pose, but some of my favorite images came from them doing something on their own and me saying “wait, don’t move!” College was also where I discovered my love of theater. I have always loved diving deeper into character development, storylines, and the chaos that occurs behind the scenes. Joining the theater allowed me to peek behind the looking glass and discover elements of myself that I didn’t know were there. Over time, my two passions have begun to meld together, allowing me to find my own way of looking through a camera lens. My final thesis is a reflection of this, as I take viewers into my world when analyzing some of pop culture’s most well-known characters. I chose to explore some of the common questions I have within their stories and photograph my response to their overlooked traits. Even as I photographed each character, I discovered new ways of looking at their stories and more questions I wanted answers to. This unique blend of photography and theater is something I will take with me when I graduate. There are dozens of paths I could take as I enter the real world, but as I said, I’ve never been able to choose just one. 


Thesis Abstract

My senior thesis project takes figures from media, entertainment, pop culture, etc., and reconsiders their narrative, changing how we view them. Growing up, I was obsessed with diving deeper into the creation of characters. How would they react to this situation? Do they do these because of this character trait? Why don’t people focus more on this element of the character? I thought it would be interesting to take these characters and put a magnifying glass on some of their traits that tend to go unnoticed. Belle from Beauty and the Beast is known for being kind and seeing the man behind the monster, but we tend to overlook the actual captivity she faces. Romeo and Juliet are regarded as one of the greatest love stories, yet no one questions Romeo’s deceit from day one and a relationship that lasts only three days. People love Peter Pan and his childlike spirit, however, no one realizes his origin story portrays him as a pure demon. It’s traits like these that I highlight in my images. I started by taking just three characters and reimagining their stories. I focused on props, costumes, color palettes, and emotions when I brought these characters to life. As my project expanded, my methods evolved while staying true to the messages I want to share. When viewing this series, look at each image from a different perspective. Can you recognize who the characters are from their appearance, the name of the image, an item, or anything else? Can you see the unnoticed trait I am highlighting? Talk about it. Share your opinion. After all, a character is meaningless without audience interpretation.