So prepare to have your breath taken away because that is exactly what happened to me when I first came across Natasha's work. Her work is truly amazing!
How long have you been shooting and what inspired you to begin with?
I picked up my first dslr in 2009 after suddenly losing my hearing. It started out as just an outlet for me to focus on instead of what I was going through. We live in a hearing world and mine suddenly became much more visual. I had to really pay attention to body language and expressions in my children and friends and family since I couldn't hear them clearly. There was a good year where I couldn't communicate effectively because I had to basically relearn to hear with hearing aids. Things sounded differently and I had to learn what those sounds were. So I took that quiet time I had and really focused on my new hobby. I was very intrigued by the history of photography and how the camera works. I had been a doula for about 4 years before this happened and also a licensed massage therapist and really loved working with expecting mamas and my role as a doula during labor and birth. It was almost impossible for me to function effectively as a doula during that year I was trying to relearn to hear. That's when I realized that my hearing loss was actually a gift. It is what forced me to see emotion differently. Since I couldn't hear crying or laughing, I experienced those emotions visually and I funneled that into my photography and love for birth. I was able to really anticipate moments before they happened because I could (and can) read the body language and visual cues leading up to those moments. I don't rely on what I hear, I rely on what I see.. and that is the foundation of my photography.
What is your current favorite image and why?
My current favorite is of one of my littlest clients who had an extraordinary birth story. His mama is a first time single mama who labored long and hard but things didn't go quite as planned. There were some complications that resulted in a transport via helicopter to another hospital from where his mama was. I won't go into details because it's not my story to tell, but the doctors told her that they had done everything they could and that it was now up to him to fight to survive. He didn't just fight to survive, he fought to prove them all wrong and made an incredible recovery in a relatively short period of time. Once they got home and settled and into their new routine, I came over a couple of weeks later so we could do their herbal bath that they didn't get to do at his birth. I love herbal baths for many reasons, but these are my favorites. These herbal baths bring a different kind of healing than just the physical healing benefits they have right after birth. These herbal baths represent closure and healing from a birth experience that didn't go quite like we planned. They are very special and I love doing them. This little guy was nearly 2 months old and it was the first time I was able to see his face without machines and he looked up at me and gave me the best smile ever.... he was telling us that 'it is well'.
Describe your work in three or four words.
Captivating. Emotional. Moving. Inspiring.
What is in your camera bag and favorite lens to shoot with?
I have a canon 5D Mark ii and a 6D, 580 ex II flash, (2) 50mm, 35mm, 100mmL Macro, 135MML, external Rode Mic for video, lots of spare batteries and chargers, extra memory cards, mono pod, slider. My favorite lens to shoot with at a birth is my 50mm. If I'm outside my 135mm is pretty much always on my camera.
How/Where do you find your inspiration and creativity?
Honestly, I find my inspiration from other mamas. I love reading birth stories and hearing women talk about their birth experiences. I feel like when I can connect with women and their emotions during labor, I am able to anticipate moments better. I love hearing all the little details and emotions that were special to them.
What are your current goals?
Right now I'm working on training/mentoring a few more photographers to add to my team and I'm also working on expanding the maternity and newborn portrait side of my business. I have some really big goals I'm trying to reach for my studio in the next 12-18 months.
One word of wisdom that you would like to offer or encouragement to fellow photographers?
Pick something you are really passionate about to focus on. I think some things go hand in hand. Like weddings and engagement and glamour/boudoir sessions. Birth and Newborn/maternity. Family and children. Seniors and glamour. Whatever.. there are so many possibilities it's endless, but I see a lot of photographers trying to do it all and I sometimes don't really feel any connection to their images. I can't feel the passion or love behind their work because it seems like they are just trying to do too much at once and it feels 'busy' and uninspired instead of focused. I always feel more connection to work from photographers who specialize in something unique to them. Learn everything you can on what you love the most and strive to be the best you can be at that. Every niche has special things about it and each one will always have new things to learn. There will always be new trends coming out. New techniques. New equipment. Each unique to the specific niche. I think it's normal to dip your toes in everything to try it out at first but have a goal to really focus on one or two things eventually. Make short term and long term goals and make plans on how to reach those goals.
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