A tip to aspiring photographers from documentarian Nicole Franco: Before you shoot, be there first.
“Oftentimes I don’t photograph right away,” she says. “I kind of just try and immerse myself, and I think of the way it’s affecting all of my senses: Collect all those sensations and incorporate that when I’m shooting.”
Feeling and absorbing the scene that she seeks to capture informs her first move. Like the archer who sees the arrow hit its mark before ever releasing it from its notch, Franco lets the moment wash over her: Both its permanent fixtures and its transient details.
“When I photograph Dia de Los Muertos, I’m looking to identify a sense of place,” she explains. “It’s visually really beautiful and stunning, with flowers and how they’re decorated. You really get a sense of identity.”