For over 30 years, Nina Wurtzel’s photographs have been featured in the New York Times, Dance Magazine, Playbill, and used for international advertising campaigns.
Nina is a a former professional ballet dancer, and was one of the main photographers at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater during the 7 years she danced with the company. Dance Magazine commissioned Nina to photograph their cover, and in 1991, Pittsburgh Magazine photographed her for their cover as a local celebrity.
Strong in both fine art and dancing, at age 16, Nina already had photographs published, and a drawing displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a finalist in a national art competition. She was also an advanced student at the School of American Ballet. Having received several scholarships to art colleges, it was during her visit to Carnegie Mellon College of Art, that she auditioned for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and was offered a contract.
After retiring from dance, Nina apprenticed in advertising, learning graphic design, marketing and strategy from legends in the industry. She ran her own small agency, Wurtzel Inc., for 12 years and did freelance photography on the side. In 2012, she transitioned to photography full time, and assisted NYC Ballet’s photographer Paul Kolnik in 2017.
Nina’s wide range of experience and knowledge is an advantage to her clients. Marketing and design experience, strengthens her ability to understanding the purpose and needs of each assignment. This leads to more successful images, created with the end result in mind. Ballet training is obviously helpful for photographing dance, but also helps when shooting events and children. Fleeting moments and social interactions are easier to capture when aware of the physicality leading up to them. Understanding body language is also important when coaching people. Common tips when posing include how to look thinner, more relaxed, more confident or playful in a natural way.
Nina is eager to take on creative challenges, celebrate diversity, find beauty, foster human connection, while she highlights the joy and humor along the way.
Photos: Self portrait at The School of American Ballet, recent photo by Charles Chessler Photography
“We were looking for a photographer who could capture family moments without it looking staged. Nina Wurtzel captured every moment without ever disrupting the family dynamic. She was easy to work with and captured every moment in beautiful light. It was private and intimate, and we are thrilled with the results.”
– Julianna Margulies, Actress, The Good Wife
"Nina Wurtzel is definitely a creative force to be recognized. Her wide breadth of imagination evokes the passion and elegance of dance in her photos and transports the viewer in her magical photographic world."
– Desmond Richardson, Co-Founder/Director, Complexions Contemporary Ballet
“Nina is able to capture not only key performance moments but the energy inside the performance. She is a consummate professional who is also a sensitive artist and shoots in a completely unobtrusive manner. Quite simply, she is a phenomenal photographer to work with.”
– Kim Weild, Associate Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon
"We were referred by a friend to Nina. We were greeted by this friendly energetic woman. Spent some time on small talk and I proceeded to explain that I have never been photogenic and that I had no real expectation that this shot would be any different than any previous ones. Like all the past photographers, Nina assured me this time would be different. Guess what, she meant it. My head shot as well as the others in our firm were so far superior to any we had ever had that I am embarrassed to say that I kept them on my home screen for weeks, to keep viewing because they were so good. Our entire crew felt her work was the best any of us had ever experienced. Next up for us, to have Nina photograph some of our events."
– Michael S. Seltzer, CLU, ChFC