Ariana Díaz Celma

Nicole Franzen (1985) was born in New Mexico, but it wasn’t until she moved to New York eight years ago when shooting went from being a simple hobby to a modus vivendi. Her blog La Buena Vida has been online for four years, showing the good life of her trips and her exquisite taste for hotspots. Her Instagram marks 124K, which translates into a bunch of followers who have surrendered to her work and clinical eye for relaxed beauty and beautiful spots, and also portraits people that crosses her path. She has also published in some of our favorite magazines like Kinfolk, Monocle, Cereal, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit. We recently met Nicole in Antwerp and decided to interview her. The reasons are quite obvious.

Spanish culture has always felt near and dear to my heart so when I decided to start a blog to share my travels and lifestyle, La Buena Vida just seemed to fit

The name of your blog gives you an idea of the life you live. Tell us, when did you start living La Buena Vida?

​The name stemmed from my connection to Latin cultures. I grew up in New Mexico and then spent time in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Spanish culture has always felt near and dear to my heart. When I finally decided to start a blog to share my travels and lifestyle four years ago, La Buena Vida just seemed to fit. ​

When did your love for photography start? Tell us a bit more about how and when your story with the camera was born…

I actually started taking photos very young. ​I think I was around 13 that I started buying disposable film cameras and documenting my friends. I would create scrapbooks and place photos  all over my walls. I was always been sentimental. I love capturing moments in time and glancing back at them. I started traveling and gradually kept upgrading cameras. When I moved to New York 8 years ago I bought my first DSLR and thats when I really committed to it.

I am known to be a heavy poster on Instagram
You’re also well known world wide for your Instagram. For those instagramers learning how to get big in the APP, do you have any secret you can share? How do you select your Instagram pictures? How many of them do you publish a day?
Instagram was something I jumped into right in the beginning. I loved the idea of an app where there were only being photos shared. I gradually started increasing followers. I have 123K because would get mentioned in press as being the top ten photographers to follow etc. All of that mentions helped me and I was put on the recommended users list by Instagram and featured in their blog. I typically post about three photos a day, more when I am traveling. I am known to be a heavy poster. When I am inspired I can’t help but share. When its a quiet day I will post just one.
Which big names (or not that big) in photography inspire you?
Do you always shoot with digital cameras? Don’t you ever miss the spontaneity of analogic? Or should we just take advantage of the era we live?
I love both! I like the ease of digital and the thoughtfulness and quality that comes with film​.

You shoot a lot on your trips. What kind of sett​ing up do you have before taking a plane with your camera?
I dont bring too much on trips, I wish I could travel lighter. I have a hard pelican case that holds all my camera bodies and lenses. I usually bring my gitzo tripod. Its typically all ready to go because I use the same equipment everyday in New York City for work. 
Your favorite hotspots in New York are… 
To you, it’s good2b…
​Ambitious, outgoing, hardworking but with the most fun you can squeeze in. Passionate and loving. Kind. ​