bits of time
light & shadows
a closer look
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Niles’ formative years were spent with her family living in small, southern towns in Virginia and North Carolina. Inspired by the heritage of these locales, neighbors, and friends, she developed deep-seated southern roots that richly inform her photography practice with visual storytelling. Niles celebrates the diverseness of the human spirit, appreciating those qualities that make us delightfully unique, yet connected in many ways, particularly through shared experiences and preserved visual memories.
Niles majored in sociology at Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina. While exploring opportunities in her chosen field, she pursued her artistic interests, ultimately discovering that photography was her passion. The medium offers Niles a wide berth of options for technique, subject matter, and her creative process.
Exhibitions include group and solo installations across the United States, Canada, Paris, France, and Venice, Italy. Her prints are held in many private collections as well the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. A selection of her work is currently exhibited at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida. She was selected for Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 200, Ones to Watch , the Fence, an exhibition at Hartsfield International Airport, and she won the Virginia Twinam Purchase Award.
Featured publications include: Light and Shadow Magazine, SouthxSoutheast Magazine, Shots, Lenscratch, The HAND Magazine, and Oxford American.
Her book, What Lies With: the Eclectic Collections of Andrea Noel received recognition from Elizabeth Avedon as best photography book of 2021
My photographic style is a result of the influences of the women who raised me as well as the fragility of life. My grandmother was a painter, often painting in a darker palette that made you look closer to see the details. My mother was an artist in most of her endeavors. I remember her tissue paper collages on canvas, always with brilliant colors because that is what she loved.
I like the element of storytelling, leaving the viewer to their own interpretation. When I was a child, my family would pack into the station wagon and take long trips. I was usually sandwiched in between my two brothers to keep the peace. Once we got going, my mother would begin a story with a couple of sentences and then turn over the story to someone who would add their inclusions. We would go around and around in the car adding to the story which was sometimes humorous and nonsensical until the story was complete, or we had reached our destination. It was amazing how quickly the time would go, and laughter would almost always ensue.
I am motivated by family, people, and their story. I am inspired by their heritage, and celebrate the diverseness of the human spirit, and how that makes each of us delightfully unique, and at the same time, connected in so many ways. Through my photography and love of storytelling, I am able to visually narrate these stories.
I am often asked what do you photograph or what is your genre. The answer would be that I am not specific, actually I am all over the board. I have several different series going at a time. I feel this keeps my afflatus going. Photography can take you down different avenues. That is what I love about it. I am known for my diverse photographic interpretations ranging from black/white and color images to my montage storytelling photographs. I add textures to some of my images which gives them a painterly quality. Sometimes I hand color photographs with watercolor and acrylic which goes back to my painting days. I enjoy using encaustic technics or cold wax. Photography can take you down different avenues. That is what I love about it.
My wish is that my imagery creates an intimate conversation that takes the viewer to a place of quiet contemplation because it is my visual representation of conversation and feelings. I like to add humor where I can