The Photographer Spotlight is a series under THE CROWN COLLECTIVE to showcase photographers that we are inspired by and to tell their story and influence in the creative community in which they thrive in. The Photographer Spotlight gives you the opportunity to have an intimate look into their beginnings, their influences and the message that they speak through their photography.
The Photographer - Natasha Wilson AKA Instagram - Deanastacia
Born and raised in Arizona (Phoenix & Scottsdale), Natasha is a photographer that embodies and advocates for female empowerment through her insightful and visionary look not only through her lens, but in life itself. I was first intrigued and quite frankly, mesmerized by Natasha's work. There is truly an enchanting element that can be felt through each of her photos and I had the opportunity to speak with her and learn more about her creative influences. The way she approaches photography allowed me to understand that she is a photographer that is not only interested in creating beautiful visual images, but intentionally defines what it means to be an influential photographer that curates much more than what meets the eye.
Age: 24 years old
Birthday December 1st (Sagittarius)
Born & Raised in Arizona (Phoenix & Scottsdale)
Currently resides in Los Angeles
Currently learning how to play the Banjo
Mantra: I Am Empowering
Natasha travels between LA and Arizona every few months working on shoots and finds her muses through women she connects with primarily on Instagram. Throughout the interview, it became very clear that Natasha's work is rooted in her efforts to empower women and that no matter what body type, style or demographic, that her intention is to inspire women to be comfortable in who they are and find their individual voice in front of the lens.
If you take a look at Natasha's work on Instagram or on her website, you will find that most of her muses are women. Although she photographs professional models as part of the work that she creates, she also shared that she seeks and connects to women on Instagram that stands out to her for various reasons and enjoys bringing them into the 'fantasy world of intense colors and flowers' and believes in breaking the standards of what is considered beautiful. From working with other women in the industry to filming or photographing women, Natasha intends to connect with a variety of people as a way to set the stage for normalizing and creating awareness around femininity and what that means from her perspective.
For the Selenite Crown designed for this shoot, it was inspired by photos that Natasha shared for context and inspiration. After some research on the model, Natasha's sense of style and the knowing the color palate that we would be working with, a solid white crown was created that would have high structures in terms of design. The crown was created to be dynamic, enchanting, and strong. The crown was designed to make a statement through incorporating selenite crystals, but also connect with THE CROWN COLLECTIVE's use of fresh florals through incorporating spray painted fresh foliage & thistle.
Describe your style – What do you tend to move towards artistically/creatively, what are you drawn to and what do you hope to create through your art through photography?
The one thing that stands out is color. That is the biggest thing for me. I am drawn to an area that is one solid color or maybe two. The same thing goes in cityscapes; I look for a wall that is a solid color that will match the clothing of the person. I look for matching colors because I want it to be cohesive in the photos. For example, today I had a shoot and my model was wearing all white and when we were driving by a fair and saw a white Ferris wheel, I knew I had to stop and shoot her in front of it.
In terms of work and what you specialize in as a photographer, what are your dominant or primary areas of work that you find yourself doing?
I never thought to put a label on it, but I guess I would consider my photography to be Fine Art Portraits. I have done and do other types of work, like wedding or band photography, but I definitely put my twist on it. My clientele are paying for the photographs, but what I also recognize is that they are looking for my creative twist as well. In addition, I have also worked photographing women in lingerie or completely nude. I find that nudity and lingerie will never go out of style. You can tell when a photo was taken based off the clothing in the photos, but shooting nude or near nude makes the photo more timeless.
On your Instagram and website, I notice a strong female influence in your photos and statement of girl power. What does girl power mean to you and what’s your own girl power you offer to the world?
Girl power means a sense of feminism, even in photography now, a lot of the higher paid photographers are males. A woman obviously understands a woman better, such as knowing how to find what best pose or side is for the model and I feel that male photographers can look past that a lot. I am not hating on men photographers at all; I just feel that women photographers can understand and relate to their female models in a different way that straight and gay men may be unaware of.
I've had experiences with girls sharing stories with me of feeling taken advantage of in their experiences with male photographers. It's not 100% of the time, but what it really comes down to is having the girls feel comfortable. Girl power is about empowering women to come forward and be confident in what they are doing, being able to speak up and say no when they are uncomfortable.
What’s your message to the world right now that you would leave to people who find you?
I want women to know that they have the freedom to be themselves and to speak up for themselves. Over the past few years I've heard endless women's stories of being harassed. Most of the women end their story with the same statement, they wished they knew they had the right to say no. They were hesitant to speak up because they were afraid they would lose work, not get paid, etc. Recently I had an experience where I was put in the same position of these women's stories. I found myself freezing up and struggled to say anything. It happened a second time and I knew the universe was giving me a another chance to speak up for myself. It was gut wrenching, and I was so hesitant to find my voice. However, I stood my ground and was able to erase the situation completely, making me feel like I could take on any battle or situation moving forward. I want every woman to understand they have the power to say no, be confidant and communicative. Addressing the situation feels 10 times better than keeping quiet.
For photoshoots, what is your process like and who do you typically work with on shoots?
For shoots, I research beforehand and create a vision for the team and get an idea for what I am looking for. I don't really like to wing it. I like to go into it prepared, I mean, not every detail needs to be outlined, but I find that being prepared helps me in the moment when I am shooting. What I have been doing lately is downloading poses beforehand. It really adds a whole new dimension to the shoot. It is easier to direct the girls who many not model professionally to visually show them what I have in mind.
With models or people that I work with, about 95% of them are through Instagram, whether I am reaching out to them or being reached out to from people who follow my work. I gravitate towards people who are intriguing in some way, they may not necessarily be models.
With the creative team, such as make-up artists and designers, I have about 4-5 different make-up artists that I work with. I try to work with the same people more often than not because we have a relationship and they understand the vision of our work together. In terms of designers, it seems to vary in stages. I tend to work with a Designer for a few shoots and then connect with another designer afterwards. However, I tend to work a lot and shoot pieces from designer Michelle Herbert.The dresses themselves are inspiring and she is definitely a part of my creative family. At the same time, I like to branch out to work with different people from various backgrounds because you don’t know who you will be inspired by and so if you are limiting yourself, your limiting your work as well.
You talk about being empowered and inspired throughout this interview. Who are your biggest inspirations?
I am inspired by my mother – she was the one who convinced me to go to photography school. When I graduated from High School, my initial plan was to buy a van, and travel the country. My mom was terrified. She helped to guide me and assisted me in looking for photography schools. I have been creative since a young girl, and my mom helped me foster that into a career. I graduated from college, and 6 years later I moved to LA. I had just started my freelance career and for 3-4 months work was super solid, as I was booking jobs every week. There was a moment when I had a dull month and didn't book any jobs. I started to doubt myself and questioned my abilities as a photographer. I called my mom freaking out, saying I would get a part time job to pay the bills. She was the one who told me I would be fine and encouraged me to push through it. That was a huge motivation for me to keep trying because I knew she had my back.
I am also deeply inspired by one of my best friends, Cole Kiburz. When I first moved to Los Angeles, he kept badgering me about making an Instagram for my photography. It seemed overwhelming to me and I kept creating excuses for myself. After enough pestering, I gathered all of my best images and started posting three times a day. I found that after a couple of months, my following went from a few hundred to a few thousand. A few months later, Instagram made me a suggested user, and my following shot up from 5,000 to 56,000. With 95% of my work deriving from Instagram, it completely made me who I am today professionally and I can't imagine freelancing with out Instagram's audience. I have to thank Cole a million times over for truly motivating my entire career.
What are your next steps for 2017?
I want to continue to push myself further in photography, but my main goal is to figure out how to help others and inspire through art. I am in the process of creating a workshop with another inspiring photographer, Heather Tabacchi. The goal is to share as much knowledge and advice with other photographers trying to make it in this industry. Through the workshop, Heather and I want to share what we have learned from branching out with other creatives, how to market yourself through social media, photography pricing for clients, etc. I want to be the mentor I wish I had after graduating from college.
Natasha currently has her exhibit of "Wild Things" at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, CA until November 6th, 2016. Free admission.
To book or learn more about Natasha:
Model // Luna Lovebad
Dress // Michelle Hebert
Selenite Crown // THE CROWN COLLECTIVE