Sometimes we figure out what we want to do in life simply by chance. For Natalie Rachel being gifted a camera at the age of 14 led her to discover the wonders of photography and the world of Lomography. For many fellow Lomographers Natalie has been an inspiration. She has captured and told the story of her life in the Aloha State through the use of many Lomography products and films. Since then she hasn’t been as active on her LomoHome but still always had photography at the center of her life by taking up her BFA in Photo & Imaging. Today we catch up with Natalie and find out how she’s made a career in the world of photography.
Natalie started her Lomography journey at the young age of 14 or 15 when she received a Holga 120 from a friend. Looking at her first roll you can see signs of what would come to define her style of photography. Multiple exposures and capturing moments of her everyday life are common themes throughout her photography.
When I first joined Lomography, I was looking for a community of film shooters to share my love of analogue with. I used my cameras like a diary and took photos of everything! I was in high school on O’ahu at the time, so this meant lots of photos of friends, being bored at home, school-related excursions, trips to the beach and up the mountain, church events, etc. I'm not sure that I would say that I had a decisive style because I used every film stock and camera I could get my hands on, but you can definitely sense the carefree spirit within the images.
Looking at Natalie's photos you can see she's tried many Lomography cameras and film stocks over the years. Her most used Lomography cameras would be the Lomo LC-Wide and her Diana Mini which has taken many of her iconic and well-loved photos over the years. She has used many of the available accessories for these cameras, especially the instant back for the Lomo LC-Wide and its underwater casing which allowed her to take it underwater during her beach and diving days.
I probably used the LC-Wide most consistently because it was such an easy camera to take with me wherever I went.
In an interview in 2012, Natalie told us that the Lomography Spinner 360 was her favorite since "the sprockets and incredible view of everything is just amazing! I also enjoy the perplexed looks that I get from my friends and strangers when they see me carrying it around." Besides this, she was an avid user of Lomography's now out-of-production slide films the Lomography X-Pro Chrome 100 and X-Pro 200.
Besides the Spinner 360, Natalie has been an avid user of many of our cameras including the La Sardina, Sprocket Rocket, and Action Sampler among others. However, one camera she still gravitates towards after all these years is the Holga which she still sometimes brings out even with her professional work.
Natalie's style of photography shows a lot of heart and emotion. Her slice-of-life photos grab your attention, making you daydream of what it would be like living in the Aloha State during youthful days.
Since then, Natalie has been doing her own thing for the past 10 years. She still continues to be an amazing photographer over on Instagram, dedicating photography to fashion, weddings, and her own creative endeavors. Here we take a look at some new photos that she handpicked herself. Like catching up with a childhood friend who you haven't seen in years, Natalie catches us up with what she has been doing since her teenage years.
In the last ten years since my time spent regularly on Lomography, I graduated from high school, moved to New York to attend NYU (I received my BFA in Photo & Imaging from Tisch), got married, relocated to Seattle, and started my own business as a photographer. Needless to say, I've been preoccupied!
I attribute my initial departure from Lomography to the stress of college life. My photos have changed and evolved a lot since I first picked up a camera, but I think the last ten years have given me time to explore a lot of different types of photography. I used to be very self-focused in my photos; an indicator of my former vanity! I then went through a digital Photoshop phase where I spent hours creating surrealist portraits in fictional worlds. After that, I transitioned back to film and pursued fashion while I was in New York (and I still build on this portfolio from time to time) and documented friends and travels.
I've landed on weddings at the moment, but within weddings is a world of categories that include reportage, still life, portraiture, etc. My hope in what I do with a camera now is simply to tell the truth in a beautiful way. A college professor once told me that I have a tendency to romanticize life, and I think that's still true and I'm okay with that.
We thank Natalie for all the photos and contributions she made back when she was active on the website. We're really glad to see her thrive and still do photography after all these years. Finally, Natalie shares with us some advice that still helps her to keep on shooting.
One of the old Lomography mantras has come back to me after all this time: "Don't Think, Just Shoot." This is something that I've had to retrain myself on how to do after years of carefully making photographs with painstaking precision. Sometimes, you just have to forget everything you know and shoot without getting in your own way. Happy shooting!
Lomography Pioneers is an ongoing tribute to our earliest community members, whose stories and photographs helped shape our thriving online community into what it is today—diverse, creative, and inspiring. See the Lomographers we've featured so far!
written by rocket_fries0036 on 2023-01-23 #culture #people #places #underwater #sun #america #seattle #hawaii #beach #usa #youth #lomography-x-pro-200 #lomography-spinner-360 #lomography-x-pro-chrome-100 #lomography-sprocket-rocket #lc-wide #lomo-lc-wide #coming-of-age #lomography-pioneers