Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Nicolas Cardello, Tampa Bay photographer and bay-area Santa Claus

By : Steve Blanchard, Media Relations Coordinator at Moffitt Cancer Center
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Steve Blanchard

In 2017, Nick Cardello and his husband, Kurt, became the international faces of same-sex relationships when they recreated a photo of themselves kissing at the March on Washington. That photo, which positioned the couple in the exact same pose as 24 years earlier, went viral and got worldwide media coverage. But for the LGBTQ community of Tampa Bay, Nick was already synonymous with our community.

Several years ago, Nick became a photographer for Watermark. Soon he was appearing at LGBTQ events on both sides of the bay with his trusty camera in hand. He shot numerous covers for the newsmagazine and soon became the official photographer for other LGBTQ organizations. The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival noticed Nick’s skills as did ASAP (which merged into EPIC). Nick also continues to shoot for Tampa’s Creative Loafing.

While Nick is recognized for his photography, it’s his spirit and his advocacy that really resonates with the community. Not only is he covering events with his photographer’s eye, he’s documenting history and ensuring that the LGBTQ story is preserved for the generations that follow ours. His and Kurt’s participation in this year’s March on Washington show that equality is still just as important to him as it was two decades ago.

His latest venture is one geared toward a much larger audience—one that knows no age, genders or sexualities. Just in time for the holidays of 2017, Nick is an official Santa Claus. He attended and graduated from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in October. The Michigan-based non-profit catches the true spirit of Santa and makes sure the Jolly Elf is well represented.

It’s difficult to think of a more remarkable person, or addition to the Kris Kringle lineage, than Nick Cardello.

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