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Nikki Lunden Trotter is most-known as the founder and lead singer for Natural Habits, one of several bands she’s been part of during a multi-decade career of performing.

But the Iowa City resident is also a devoted photographer, and one of her creative inspirations is to find beauty in angst. Trotter found The COVID pandemic and its shutdown effects served as a massive inspiration for Trotter. “Technology has changed the human experience in so many ways, good and bad. You can connect with people you would never have the opportunity to meet (including serial killers), but it seems to replace having in-person connections and deep and meaningful relationships.”

Nikki Lunden Trotter with her guitar, and in the kitchen.

Nikki Lunden Trotter with her guitar, and in the kitchen.

Trotter has had her share of angst to ponder: she openly shares of being a recovering alcoholic who says she also “battled” with undiagnosed bipolar disorder for years. “It was an ongoing fist fight,” she says now.

Through the challenges, Trotter has remained a prolific musician. Her career includes the following stints from Iowa to California:

• Trotter began performing in 1998 as a solo artist looking for jam sessions in Fort Madison, Ia.


• In 1998, she also joined the Fairfield, Ia., band called Alienative.

• Next, Trotter headed to Tulsa, Okl., and joined a band called Frito Pie.

• Then, she was back to Iowa, playing rhythm guitar for the Cedar Rapids Top-40 cover band Rockit Science.

• In the early 2000s, Trotter helped co-found The Trollies, then went solo for a few years.

• Next came a series of self-named ensembles: the Nikki Lunden Band, Nikki Lunden’s Heinous Canis, and the Nikki Lunden Trio.

• Trotter continued to perform solo, in Davenport, and in Colorado, and formed Nikki Lunden & the Paper Hearts in 2010.

• She relocated to California in 2012 and founded the melodic progressive rock band Lunden Reign, a gig she led for six years before heading back to Iowa once more.

Since 2018, Trotter has led Natural Habits, a Midwestern roots rock band. Below, you can enjoy four collections of Trotter’s photography. Her column about photography making art accessible is also available in the new January 2023 print edition of The Real Mainstream; you can obtain a subscription here.


Enjoy Trotter’s photo galleries below:





Raw Surroundings Collection

Black and White Collection

Iowa City During COVID Collection

Flower Faces Collection