“A struggle most creatives have is finding their ‘voice’ through their art. Color helped me with that.” – Natasha Wilson.

“A struggle most creatives have is finding their ‘voice’ through their art. Color helped me with that.” – Natasha Wilson.

Immerse yourself in a vivid world of color, strong women and bold lines with LA photographer, Natasha Wilson. Capturing women with both composure and vitality against bold backgrounds, her work is often born from a single color.

Natasha Wilson tells IMAGO where she finds her inspiration and how color ultimately gave her her creative voice. Explaining her artistic process relies on many elements, she explains why artistic freedom is so important, how to trust your creative instincts and why women should be championed. From building strong connections with her female models, to developing her curatorial eye and working with renowned brands such as Adidas, Natasha Wilson is one photographer to know.

 

Read her interview with IMAGO.

www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co

How did you start out in photography?

I entered the world of photography when I was in high school. I started with film, and would print cyanotypes in the sun on paper and then paint over them. I fell in love with photography because I wanted to express myself creatively, but couldn’t seem to achieve what I wanted through painting by itself. Photography changed that, and I fell in love.

I went to an institute for photography in 2010, but when I graduated, I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around how to become a full-time photographer. I kept pushing the idea away because it intimidated me. I ended up traveling for 4 years and when I was ready, I took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles to hopefully jump start my career. I tried working at a furniture store as a catalog photographer and doing my passion of fine art photography on the side, but I couldn’t seem to balance the two- and I wasn’t the slightest bit happy at the furniture store. I decided to quit my job and have faith that the photography jobs I wanted would come – and to my surprise (with the help of Instagram and photographing people every waking moment) I was able to achieve that dream.

 

You also do a fair bit of creative directing. Was this a natural progression from photography? Can you tell us a little bit about this evolution and why?

Even during my earliest moments playing with a camera (my mom’s point and shoot) I would dress up my friends, picking out the outfits and colors of the outfits to match. I always wanted to have control of that aspect of photography because I felt like that’s where I had the most creative freedom. You can only take a photo from so many different angles, but when you can direct pose, match colors, and location, the stories are endless.

www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co

You write that your images are directly inspired by the color pallet of each. Can you tell us a little more about this creative process?

Color is the most important part of my work. Every image that I create starts with one color, and layers are added to it. I might be inspired by a bold color of a dress, or find a location that is bright yellow, and figure out my story from there. I also use color theory and reference the color wheel whenever I feel stuck. There are always unique combinations that can come together that I may not think of at first thought. 

 

How would you best describe your creative style?

Dreamlike, otherworldly, maybe peculiar. 

 

Color plays a huge role in your work. How much is determined by the location of the shoot and how much is your own making/ decision?

Sometimes I base my entire shoot off of a location, but other times I have a story in my head and then drive aimlessly until I find the location to match. I like the ebb and flow of creating, sometimes letting the universe pick things for me. 

www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co

Your photographs are beautifully bold and with so much detail. Why is this pivotal to you and what makes color an important tool?

I feel like a struggle most creatives have is finding their ‘voice’ through their art. Color helped me with that. In the beginning my work was more muted, soft, and I only shot at golden hour (sunset). It was limiting and I remember feeling that way. Once I decided to challenge myself, shooting with bold colors, shooting at high noon, stuff they tell you to stay away from in photography school, I was able to find my creative path. That’s why color is so important to me.

 

You’ve worked with some great commercial names. Is there a project or partner that stands out as the most creative or inspiring and why?

One of my favorite brands to work with is Adidas. They put complete trust and responsibility as me in the artist, to create something unique for their brand. I love the ability to create with minimal boundaries from a client, and that’s where the best images stem from, freedom!

www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co

Your photography celebrates women and they feature heavily throughout. Why women? Is there anything you look for particularly in your models/ muses?

I have always had a strong connection with women and that helps me navigate emotions I want to capture in every shoot. Growing up, I don’t remember seeing as much imagery with women being captured vulnerable and still strong, it was always one or the other. That inspired me to be that change, and create imagery that told that story. I look for the models that have unheard voices, the ones that have unique features, something that is not seen as typically “beautiful” by consumer standers. Those are the stories I want to tell. 

 

What have you learnt by photographing women? Has it taught you anything you didn’t know about them or yourself?

All I want to do is connect with each subject I photograph, and be able to tell a version of their story through my lens. That connection has always been easier with women, but I’d like to use the lessons I’ve learned from them and shift it to a male perspective. Men have always been required to seem strong, tough, and resilient through mainstream media and I look forward to shifting that perspective in the future!

www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co

Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on or what your 2021 is looking like?

I am excited for what 2021 holds! I am currently working on more video and motion projects, can’t give away too much but I am looking forward to having a new medium to tell stories with!

www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co
Photo: www.natashawilson.co, @natashawilson.co

Find out more about Natasha Wilson and all her work via her Website or follow her on Instagram for a daily slice of color.

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