PRO-PORTRAIT: 19 year-old Photographer Nicholas Scarpinato.

Nineteen-year-old emerging photographer Nicholas Scarpinato is studying Film and Photography at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). While still at the beginning of his journey, he clearly has the drive to live a life among the creative professions. Motivated by early public attention to his work, he’s defining his goals and art based on his passions.

Nicholas’ photography tells stories—perhaps a secret that is waiting to be unearthed, or a memory or a place in time. He often uses himself as model, and uses his own drawings and paintings to sketch out the subject, or to be included in the some of my images.

“While the initial photographic capture is important, the ensuing creative process is the distinguishing factor in my work,” Nicholas describes his process, “My images are designed to expand the intellectual limits of surreal photography.”

Currently, Nicholas is inspired by the photographer Robert Parkharisson. “When I first saw his photography I was instantly hooked and mesmerized. He incorporated paint and surreal imagery within his work. I believe he has rubbed off on me, a lot, when I go about composing a photograph.”

For Nicholas, creative inspiration comes from a variety of sources—innovators, storytellers and those with a keen visual eye who look at life through a different lens. He’s currently obsessed with “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” the photography of Tim Walker, Polaroid photography, performance art, and Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom.”

“I really enjoyed reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower book when I was younger and the movie complimented it nicely. Tim Walker inspires me to become a better photographer. Because of the Impossible Project I have bought a lot of Polaroid film and have been shooting nonstop. Performance art has really intrigued me lately and I have thought about creating my own performance piece. I think Wes Anderson is my favorite director and his film Moonrise Kingdom really spoke to me. The art direction on the film was beautiful as well.”

While at the first step of his career, Nicholas is clearly on a path of a life as a creative professional.

TIME from Nicholas scarpinato on Vimeo.

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