NELIN REISMAN- New York Photographer & Artist
A Photography World portrait of New Yorker NELIN REISMAN- Photographer & Artist, living the American Dream.
….Interview & Story by Mina Thevenin with Photography & Art by Nelin Reisman
.. Published October 2015 (CLICK ON ANY IMAGE to view as gallery slideshow.)
“My English is not as good as you expect it to be.” New York Photographer NELIN REISMAN, photographer and artist, is Filipino-American. Nature is her solace and it is fitting that this is the primary theme of her art. It is also the primary theme of her photography. “For me taking a hike and taking shots of the trees, rivers, mountains, flowers, waterfall , birds…is soothing and healing to my soul. This is where I can truly breathe, and this kind of setting is an invite to be alone and keep my senses in order… listening to the crickets and the chirping of the birds sooths me.” Her paintings also reflect this quiet and calm side of nature. Colors, particularly trees in various seasons and the stems and blossoms of flowers fill her canvas again and again.
INSPIRATION NATURE Well traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and U.S. National Parks, New York is home and holds Reisman’s heart. “Summer is beautiful when everything is lush around you and when autumn comes… it is a feast to my eyes and soul and my creative mind. The vibrancy of the colorful leaves is heaven to me. The sunset gets better when you feel the chill on the air and the lake is relaxing when you can go on a boat ride when the sun is setting. Plus the temperature where I am is always less than 10 degrees compared to the city or the valley below us.” The Catskills of New York is the landscape of which Reisman photographs and paints.
NELIN REISMAN hikes in the Catskills with its vast flora and fauna; this area of New York state is approximately 100 miles/161 kilometers north of the Big Apple. The Catskills is comprised of four counties, containing the Catskills Mountains (part of the Appalachian Trail) and 600,000 acres of the private and public lands of Catskill Park. The Catskill Forest Preserve is 287,500 acres of publicly protected area within the Catskill Park. It is primarily forested, but also invites outdoor recreation amid mountains, meadows, lakes, rivers, and forests. But when the north wind blows and the weather turns colder, Nelin Reisman heads south to hibernate in Texas for the winter. Family and gardening await her there, where each spring she celebrates the flowers of March before returning home to the Catskills. She is a snow bird who migrates south and then returns to her heart’s home after the thaws of winter bathe the north of New York in its own renew of spring.
Pioneer and immigrant in the truest sense of olden times and modern day, NELIN REISMAN is self-made. Born and raised in the Philippines and immigrating to the United States as a young adult at age 24, NELIN REISMAN is living the American dream. Unlike the despot Philippine experience during the Marcos regime, Reisman was the first of her family to arrive in the United States without following a “have to-need to” exodus that we see of many third world countries, i.e. Syria, September 2015. While her sisters (Nelin is six of twelve children) pursued nursing, Reisman arrived in the U.S. and began her study in Interior Design. She even climbed the ladder of design to build her own home. Designer and real estate agent, Reisman wore the general contractor’s hat and built her Texas dream, her own home- even laying tile and finishing walls herself. Though with all dreams, life is still life. A challenging and painful road lay before her, of which she could not have known, but on which she remained for a number of years.
” I do have a lot of interests in life, but my life was not perfect. I was in many bends- ups and downs like a road that I went through… I may be sleeping on a bed of roses but I have been poked deep to my veins by thorns that until now I still bleed.”
TRAGEDY Walking away from a devastating wildfire which destroyed her Texas home and took the lives of her five beloved dogs, Nelin’s road has been beset by tragedy and difficulty: surviving a near fatal car accident and pulmonary embolism- both times nearly losing her life, and now living with tinnitus currently. The most difficult grief, though, has been the loss of her teenage son. “Both Photography and painting or anything that I can do with my hands gives me an instant gratification, joy, and helps my heartache and longing for my son who passed away. Even [if] for a minute, I can drown myself photographing butterflies just to keep my soul afloat. These hobbies of mine somehow pick me up all the time when I am down and my tears are rolling down my face…when I feel that my heart is falling apart with sadness.”
HOPE Butterflies are the beautiful metamorphosis, from caterpillar to a colorful winged creature, they are “reborn” . As Nelin is renewed in her photography and art, she finds comfort in her travels, her family, and her children- of whom she speaks proudly. “Conrad is a freelance animation and graphic designer in New York: Conrad Mcleod… and have all kinds of work for every big company. My daughter is a graduate of Bachelor in Fine Arts; she is back in school for nursing.” Nelin’s enduring hope, “Be yourself and try your best.” Her personal philosophy about being true to self and not settling inspires her in her art.
Photography. NELIN REISMAN is usually out with her photography daily. Her preferred camera is her Canon 5D Mark iii and her “pocket” camera, the Leica V-lux 4. She also paints regularly, knits, and keeps up with her social media.
I asked Nelin, ” When you look at your images and reflect on all your travels, your nature photography, the images of your butterflies, which photographs mean the most to you?”
Nelin has the television on in the background, her art supplies neatly arranged in one corner of the room, her photography and camera equipment in another. “Photography to me is the extension of my soul, it is my everyday tool to capture the moment of happiness, the sadness, the surprises in life. It is my paddle in life to keep swimming against the current of my fate. It is my way of recording the forever changing of our surrounding, the environment , the travels that we do! I love to take pictures of my family, that is the most enjoyable one… and to have the prints of our joys when we are together is priceless. (She pauses.) And when the unthinkable happens to one of us, I will always have that photo to keep me company.”
NELIN REISMAN– New York Photographer & Artist
(1) Celoza, Albert F. Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines: The Political Economy of Authoritarianism. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997
Connect with NELIN REISMAN- New York Photographer & Artist, by request.