Nich Zalmstra filming his daughter dancing with his retro camera

Nich Zalmstra is the man behind the camera at Rolling Dawn Films, where he creates handcrafted family and wedding films made with love. For Nich, capturing the emotion and intimacy behind his subjects is a way for him to bring happiness into other people's lives, and this is why his family and wedding films are so captivating to the viewer - they’re filled with love, sentiment and have the ability to transport you to that very moment in time. 

In celebration of our newest heirloom jewellery design, the NMJ Guardian Chain, we connected with Nich to learn more about his affinity for motion pictures, why he finds lovers and families the most interesting subjects to capture, and how a piece of jewellery allows him to carry a little piece of his girls around at all times.


Your focus with film is to create lasting and nostalgic memories for lovers and families. What is it about these subjects that you find most intriguing?

I think it’s the emotion that can be found or brought out in the subjects and finding a way to capture it in a naturalistic way. It’s such a beautiful little time capsule of a certain time and place of someone’s life - one that can be looked back on and hopefully bring out new emotions within the viewer down the track. I love being part of that.


Where did your love for capturing precious moments originate from? Are there any memories from your earlier life that influenced your direction?

There was definitely some sort of affinity with a stills camera early on in my teens. The ability to capture a little moment in time really appealed to me. When I studied photography in art school I was instantly drawn to analog formats and the excitement of not knowing what you had captured until the film was developed.

My grandfather was always the man with the video camera, literally filming everything. I loved sitting with him to watch what he had documented and it wasn’t until he passed that I came across his old 60s super8, and it being analog, I instantly fell in love with motion pictures and its ability to capture a heightened interpretation of emotion that a stills camera couldn’t.

Nich Zalmstra wearing the NMJ guardian chain in sterling silver
You also work as a cabinet maker for Martin Johnson Furniture. What is it about the bespoke, handmade practice that you love?

I love that every bespoke piece is different and handmade especially for a particular person or persons. This keeps every project exciting and it’s pretty special to be involved in creating something unique, just in a different format.


At NMJ, all of our jewellery pieces are handcrafted with love and thoughtful intention. How does it feel for you to create something with your hands, whether it be videography or furniture, for other people to love, cherish and enjoy?

Like most handcrafted things, time plays a big part in its creation and when others appreciate the time and love that goes into that particular piece you can feel proud that what you have created has brought happiness into their lives.


You're a father of two little girls, Della & Posey. How has your life changed since becoming a father?

We have been big believers in trying not to change our lives because we have kids. Instead, we try to do as much as we did pre kids and have the girls experience these things. They are the best little girls, and we have learnt that they love all the things we do.

Nich Zalmstra with his beautiful family and inaction shooting film with his retro camera
What have your children taught you about love?

There’s definitely no stronger love than that of your children. It’s an indescribable feeling that hits you straight in the face the moment they are born.


What is a piece of advice your father taught you, that you will pass down to your children?

Dad has taught me a lot over the years and that doesn’t seem to have stopped. I definitely want to teach the girls as much as I know. Literally, everything.

A piece of advice you’ve learnt from your kids?

In a very serious voice, “Daaadd, you have to put the lid on the toothpaste!! Or it’s going to dry up”. I didn’t want to tell her but the culprit was definitely her mum, haha!


What does your new Natalie Marie Jewellery piece mean to you?

A little piece of my girls to carry around and remind me of them even when we’re apart.

PC: Amelia Fullarton