Helen Nishi

Springtime day with the inspiring Helen Nishi, photographed by Nastassia Bruckin

 Helen Nishi is one of those ultimate power women: strong, creative, graceful and delicate. Her words are delivered in the most calming manner and her smile is contagious; she's the kind of person with whom you could easily spend days on end without batting an eye. She really does it all when it comes to interests and balance. Designer (created a line of pottery, napkins, chef coats and shirts for local westside restaurants in LA), you can find her playing records around town, either on the east side or at MTN restaurant in Venice, well-versed chef, surfer, mom to pup Sonny, shop girl at our friends spot Midland - the list goes on . Splitting her time between her Topanga home, where she is surrounded by nature, and her boyfriend's home in Venice (where I have the pleasure of living only one block away), she maintains an outlook characteristic of her time growing up in Brazil. See below for her inspiring words, as she says it all best (reading what she wrote is like taking a giant deep breath) and see photos, taken on film, by her friend and fellow photographer, Nastassia Bruckin.

– PD

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"I was raised by an Italian mother and a Japanese father both born in Brazil. My great-grandparents moved to Brazil from Japan and Italy during the 2nd world war. My mom is Catholic and my dad a Buddhist. I relate so much with my dad’s way of looking at life…he is the most peaceful, happy & non-reactive human I’ve ever met. He lives for the love of his family, he never judges anyone and has taught me how to accept others’ pain, to be there for them. No matter where you are now or where you come from, your upbringing, you have to learn how to survive alone and thrive within yourself so you can bring positivity into the world. Pain will always be followed by hope. Growing up in Brazil gave me the strength to accept how hard life can be, the best way possible. I grew up with so much violence, pain and anger around me. But also, I was constantly surrounded by immense love and beauty. But I’m no different than you, that’s life. I was an exchange student at age 15 and lived with an American family in Detroit for a semester. I was determined to learn English. I moved to California at age 20. I basically bought a ticket after saving money from working at a store in Brazil, and flew to San Diego to visit a friend. I periodically flew back and forth to Brazil but would always end up back in San Diego where my friends were at the time. Despite having a big cultural shock, I’ve learned to adapt to a completely new world and I was excited to explore. Photography was always part of my life, but it didn’t take a significant role until later on.

I didn’t learn anything super significant in school. The most significant teachings I’ve experienced, have been from the people I’ve related throughout the years. I find and reinvent myself through my relationships. Photography has found me. I can be spontaneous, creative and intuitive, I can create an image that can bring multiple feelings in others, I can stop time, I can show the world love, skin, body, happiness and pain, all at’s an incredible thing.

This medium has a huge open door to awareness which I aspire to take full advantage of in the near future. It’s a very powerful tool.

The opportunity to write about my life here cannot be complete without the idea of sharing awareness. I hope for a world where people are paying attention to how they are contributing everyday to better the world we live in. Pointing fingers at the government won’t change anything, we have to fight together. How can we change the mentality of our children, the mentality on power and what that really means, the horrific mentality on our fast food system where we face the massive sacrifice of animals raised for mass killings so people can eat cheap meat, obesity, the mentality on our gun laws, on plastic pollution, woman’s rights, the drug epidemic, depression just to name a few. We have to look inside ourselves and take action without excuses. On the other side and I do not care that I sound cliché… I’m grateful everyday for the air I breathe, the food I eat, the rain, music, the mountains, plants, the ocean and the sun. You should be too. They make life on earth possible and worth it. Don’t ever take it for granted. It’s absolutely all connected."

– Helen Nishi

Helen wearing the Brigitte Top in Salt

Springtime Blooms

Helen wearing the Rose Top in Rust Ditzy Floral

Helen wearing the Tansy Dress in Golden Hour

Helen wearing the Bella Top in Adobe

Helen wearing the Iris Dress in Sunny Anemone Floral