Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Focus: Nothing More

The talented Natalie Wells
I am excited to introduce to you someone from the British Isles who is not only stunningly beautiful, but who also chooses to flex her artistic biceps to photograph hauntingly unique images. I find that some of her particularly interesting photos are hard to forget.

I consider myself fortunate to connect with 29-year-old Natalie Wells on Twitter many months ago. Natalie is also a moderator of the Sylar's Army forum and it so happened that we (not too) strangely bonded over a very bloody incident involving her pet greyhound!

Despite my rather deceptively "sunny" demeanor, I possess a dark gothic heart. And we found ourselves indulging in those macabre topics which we were not afraid to discuss about!

For a day job, Natalie is the manager of Ticket Alternative UK - a company that supply tickets and wristbands for events. She confesses that in her free time, she puts her Advanced Art and Design certification to good use as a professional photographer. Oh, and not forgetting, her other side job as super-villain. *g*

Natalie admits that "Heroes" is her favourite TV show.  "I don’t really watch much TV I’m afraid, my love for Heroes took everyone by surprise!", she says. Her favourite musical acts include an eclectic mix of The Prodigy, Reso, Fever Ray, Bjork, Joe Hisashi, Rob Zombie, Bat For Lashes, Camille Sant Saens, The Upbeats, Kate Bush... to name just a few!

Other than photography, Natalie enjoys Japanese culture, swimming and shopping. She stresses that "Shopping is a hobby when you do it properly!"

With a new fresh look and drive on re-launching her photographic work via a website, I've decided to grill Natalie with the "tough" questions ;)

Here's the first installment:

1. Your new Nothing More blog-website was launched just recently. Tell us how the idea of a revamped Nothing More website came about?
Well, there is only one woman to thank for that and she is Mabes. She has been a ‘fan’ for a while and got a bit sick of me not getting any money or exposure! So we're working on changing that. Photography has been my life since I was 7, but when I took my current job it paid well and I became complacent.

Taking photos is my main passion, I don’t really do it to make money, so to get paid for my work and spend my wages on my photography made me happy enough. However, I miss the days of my work reaching a larger audience and let’s be honest here, money is the root of all evil and I love evil! I also love Vivienne Westwood products. ;)

2. What do you expect to achieve from this blog/ website?

Exposure (no pun intended…ish). I’d just like to kick start my career again. Once upon a time I sold quite a lot of work and I loved it, not because of the money, but because it was wonderful feeling that people liked my work enough to put it on their walls and see it every day.

With the blog, I’m hoping to create a space that will be interesting for image lovers to read; with regular articles, reviews, tips, etc. I also plan to use it as a platform to display some of my new images as well as images or photographers that have excited me.

The new website isn’t quite ready yet. I’m not too clever with IT things and I’m about to go away for 3 weeks, so the old one will remain until the end of the month. I hope *fingers crossed* to have the new site up by my birthday in November. This happened with my first site and was a lovely present to myself.

3. So how many cameras do you currently own? Do you have a favourite one?

You know, lots of people have asked me this recently and even though I was curious, I never had an answer! For you guys however, I counted.

The number is currently 43! I won’t list them all for you. ;) I thought it was around 37, so not far off! I use about 13 of them on a regular basis, 2 of which stay with me at all times. Only 4 of the 43 are digital. Many of the cameras are vintage, I really adore older cameras. My oldest is a Kodak Box Brownie that dates back to early 1902 and yes, I DO use it! The ‘youngest’ is just a few of months old; the 360* Spinner which came out in June.

As for a favourite camera, that is tricky, they are all so different and precious. The only way I could decide was to create this scenario in my head; if you take away all monetary value, put all the cameras in a room, set the room alight and ask me to save one, it would be my Lomo LC-A+. This camera helped me to rediscover my love of film and abstract photography, I owe it a lot. I’d still try my hardest to rescue the others though!

4. Do you have pet names for all your cameras?

No, I had never even thought about it until now. Each one has the title of ‘The’ before it’s make, i.e. The LC-A+, The Diana 120, does that count? Lol!

5. Do you have a favourite photographic topic?

My work blossoms in Japan. Maybe it is my love of the nation, or some deeper connection but I feel things purely there, if that makes any sense! So many of my favourite photos, even those that don’t look like they are in Japan, were shot in Japan! For some reason I have yet to do a proper portrait session out there, maybe that is something I can work on this time.

In London, most of my work has varying levels of Japanese influence. I guess I’m just always trying to get back to my spiritual home.

6. What do you find most challenging to photograph?

Davey Havok from AFI! I’m only half-joking! I have been lucky enough to shoot several of their gigs and wow, does that boy move fast! That said, some of my favourite live shots have been from AFI gigs, so when you ‘catch’ him, it is always satisfying …even if, like me, you happen to break 6 ribs in the process!

Other than Davey I would have to say products. I think, as with weddings, you either love shooting them or you don’t. I really don’t. You need to have a massive amount of skill and passion to make an iron or a tomato look interesting. I just don’t have the patience for it. I much prefer to interact with my subjects. Maybe if said iron or tomato, were outside and I could climb over/on something, it would be a different story!

7. Who are your photographer heroes or artistic heroes? (those who inspire you the most)

My photographic heroes are fairly varied, though for the most part they all shoot with great understanding of light, narrative and dreamlike qualities. Julia Margaret Cameron, Lee Miller, Mika Ninagawa, Floria Sigismondi and Zena Holloway, are five of my favourite photographers and they are all women. Their sex shouldn’t be an issue, but it is, particularly for Cameron and Miller.

For the longest time, photography was a ‘Man’s World’ and these women showed they were/are as good, if not better than their male peers. These five women each lead the way in their genre. Sigismondi has a little more competition, but I rate her as highly, if not higher than David LaChappelle, whom I also adore.

Both are dark and twisted, they just have different ways of conveying it. I’m always more drawn to a photographer who can successfully commit the darker side of their psyche to print. Oh, I have to throw in Edward Steichen as well. One of the greatest portrait photographers of all time. OF ALL TIME!

If I listed my artistic heroes, meaning painters/ illustrators, we would be here all day!

Natalie aspires to be a full time pro-photographer with regular editorial/commercial work. And I strongly believes she deserves to achieve that goal with much success.

Visit her new Nothing More website and tell your friends about it!
You can also "Like" the Nothing More Photography FB page or follow @NothingMoreFoto on Twitter for the latest images!

Natalie will be away in Japan for a few weeks tomorrow but I will be posting part 2 of her interview in a few days' time! Look out for it!

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