Regional photographer snaps cover for MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE

Published 7:47 pm Monday, August 15, 2016

Photo By Nicole Godsey Nicole Godsey took photos of American Idol contestant Tristan McIntosh in downtown Nashville.

Photo By Nicole Godsey
Nicole Godsey took photos of American Idol contestant Tristan McIntosh in downtown Nashville.


Nestled in the heart of Unicoi County, Nicole Godsey recently had the opportunity to showcase her art to a national audience.
A love of art navigated Godsey in the world of photography, an item she put on display for the August edition of MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE magazine, shooting the cover of the publication, which featured American Idol contestant and “military-kid” Tristan McIntosh.
“MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE launched as a print magazine in April 2015,” said Amy Crispino, co-owner of Chameleon Kids and managing director of the magazine. “The purpose of the magazine is to build a sense of community among all military kids: active duty, guard, reserve and across all the branches. We invited school-aged military kids to encourage each other through the challenges of military life.”
MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE, which earned the 2016 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award during its first year of print, has also picked up traction across the state, Crispino said.
“Best of all is the support we receive right here in Tennessee,” she added. “Not just from our subscribers, but also members of the Tennessee Titans, our military-connected writers and, of course, a certain super-talented photographer named Nicole Godsey.”
The Northeast Tennessee photographer has seen her fair share of activity across the globe. After high school in Unicoi County, Godsey went on to join the Marine Corps at 19 years old.
“I was stationed in Japan during my time there,” Godsey said. “I lived in Okinawa and went from there and moved to California. I then ended up in South Carolina, where I met my husband, Corey.”
The military lifestyle continued for Nicole with her husband being with the United States Army. It was during their time in Germany when the art bug decided to latch onto Nicole.
“The service allows spouses to go back to school,” she said. “I tried the New York Institute of Art and Design first but then decided to go with the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was able to get my bachelor’s in fine arts from there.”
But an injury to Corey saw the family make the move back to the states. After a stint in Georgia, Corey, Nicole and their children decided to make the move back to Unicoi County.
While working on her master’s with the Georgia-based college, it was a meeting between Nicole and Amy at last year’s Inc. Magazine’s GROWCO conference in Nashville that got the ball rolling with the magazine partnership.
“We were both part of the Military Entrepreneur Program, which supports veteran and military spouse small business owners with amazing resources, mentorship and networking events,” Crispino said. “Over the last year or so, I got to know Nicole and see her awesome work. As a veteran, military spouse, mom and artist, I knew Nicole was the perfect fit to shoot the cover of our upcoming issue, which features American Idol finalist, and military kid, Tristan McIntosh.”
Godsey missed out on the previous year’s conference, but added she liked what she saw from the past GROWCO conference.
“It was amazing,” she said. “They offer so many different resources for military veterans and their spouses. They make you feel like celebrities. You’ll get up and introduce yourself and your business. It was a great way of marketing, getting your word out and networking with a great group of people.”
MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE is a publication that is a “by kids/for kids,” Crispino said, with, at least, half of each issue written by military-connected kids.
The goal of the magazine only added fuel to the fire for Godsey to pursue the endeavor with her children being part of the experience.
“I got an email from Amy and she asked how long of a drive was it for me to make it Nashville, and I was all about it,” Nicole said with a laugh. “It was a great experience going down there. MILITARY LIFE KIDS’ is such a great publication. My daughter, Emma, was my personal assistant for the photo shoot. My kids still talk about Germany today and miss it. The goal of the magazine is incredible. You see the different stories from children that are 17 years old and 10 years old and see how they cope with the military life.
“It can be tough,” she added. “Sometimes these children go years without seeing their mom and dad and it is incredible seeing them have a chance to share their story. Amy really has her pulse on military children. You look at the Olympics, there were athletes that medaled and came from a military family. It is incredible.”
And the chance to work with McIntosh was hard to pass up, too, according to Godsey.
“Oh, she was fantastic,” she said. “We spent time talking before we started taking photos. Nashville is so crowded but I thought our shoot was incredible. I didn’t have one shot I did not like and it just seemed like the perfect scenario.
“Tristan was great,” Godsey continued. “She had such a sarcastic-type of humor and her and my daughter really hit it off. She really put her military family on display and uses it as motivation for her performances. Plus, I had a soft spot for her. She had the chance to be on stage at the Grand Ole Opry with Darius Rucker and I grew up listening to Hootie & the Blowfish.”
McIntosh’s mother is a retired Major with the Army, and was the perfect candidate for the front of the magazine, Amy said.
“Tristan is a gifted, young artist who captivates her audience and inspires military kids to dream big,” Crispino added. “She also derives a great deal of strength and support from her family and local community. We knew featuring Tristan on our cover would convey our message, and we knew Nicole Godsey would be able to capture this spirit perfectly.”
Nicole also has a busy stretch of work ahead with a trip to New York in store to work with an advertisement campaign. Visit or email the photog at for more information on her schedule.
The August edition of MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE is available to the public, Crispino said.
“We are available through subscription, school/organization bulk order and now in select Barnes and Noble stores across the country,” she said.
Visit for additional details.

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