Natasha Wilson is the woman behind Deanastacia Photo - a fashion and lifestyle photographer who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. The sunny Cali landscapes often create a dreamy backdrop to the stories Wilson tell with her photography, and in combination with digital editing techniques, the photos frequently get an air of surrealism. The Doyennes have been lucky enough to be able to feature one of Wilson’s new, previous unpublished series; this time not set in California, but on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Natasha has always craved blending fine art and family connection into one, and that's exactly what she's done in this series, featuring a family consisting of the her friend Mea, who is an artisan, her musician husband, and their child, and set in stunning, burnt orange landscapes:
- Family photography has typically been boxed into one specific style, very traditional and to the point. I have to admit that I was a little bit intimidated to break the mold, and to try photographing a family in a unique, conceptualized way. Once I started to pose the family, I noticed there was a stronger connection that you could see visually through the images, more than just 'smiling and looking at the camera'. I learned that feeling and emotion comes through so naturally once you strip away expectations of what you are supposed to do.
The location was a very special place off the road to Waimea Canyon. I have always been drawn to red tones in my work, and even manipulate colors to bring in red where I want to see it. I couldn't believe my eyes when we arrived — this was one of those golden locations that truly didn't need Photoshop!
You usually work with professional models, how was the dynamic of the shoot different when working with a family?
- Working with families can be intimidating, but this time, it was not. Mea's family was incredibly open to any posing or thought I had. They had a playfulness and gentleness about them that was captured in the images — and we really had fun with it. Models are quicker to work with, as they are used to direction and moving swiftly, but I really loved that I had to slow down and think about each pose and movement. To me, it had more of an impact.
The landscape is such a big part of this series, and landscapes seem to be important in your photography in general; how does this influence your work? Do you actively look for beautiful scenery first and then decide what to shoot there, or do you search for settings that match a concept you already have in mind?
- I do a little bit of both. Sometimes, I will see places off the road that catch my eye when I am driving, other times I search on Google maps or travel websites for locations that inspire me. It's easiest for me to be inspired when I have a location picked out already. I can style ahead of time and create a clear vision of what story I am trying to tell.
Your work as a photographer is very diverse, and it includes fashion, natural landscapes, and dreamy, digitally edited stories with an almost surreal twist. You still have a very recognizable style; can you tell us about how you started, and how you found your style as a photographer?
- When I first started photography, it was because I saw images I was inspired by, and wanted to recreate them exactly as I saw them. I was never fully satisfied with my work back then, because it wasn't really my own. Once I started to draw inspiration from paintings, nature, and other creative places that weren't already someone's completed ideas, I began to create my own style. I can't describe fully what makes my 'style' - but color is the most important part of my work, and the starting point of all of my concepts.
What inspires you, and is there anything or anyone you particularly dream of shooting?
- I am inspired the most by color theory, and the urge to tell a story through imagery. I love bizarre posing, playing with light and color. Anytime I see that in anyone's work, in nature or in the city, or even in paintings and drawings, I save it and hope to gain my own meaning from it. I love photographing all different types of people - both individuals and big groups. I don't know if I have a particular person I want to photograph, I just hope to continually be inspired by the world around me and see where that takes me!