Starting her career in the Architectural, Tourism and community sectors, Natasha had the opportunity to work with an impressive list of clients. She has also worked with Design Agencies, such as The20 and Ionata Digital. Before building her photography business, Natasha worked as an Interior Architect, designing and managing projects across residential and commercial projects in Sydney and London, for over 10 years. This allowed her to hone her creative acumen, eye for detail and project management skills. All these experiences enabled Natasha to become an outstanding multidisciplinary creative tutor and mentor, and you can find her nurturing the future of design at Foundry.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I’ve studied and worked in Photography, Interior Design and back into Photography and into video, so my study/work journey has been a pretty amazing journey – it’s great to see how they all link together and inform in my creative process – I love that about design.

I studied various film photography processing and printing at the Australian Centre for Photography as a teenager and went on to study Film and Television Production at UTS in Sydney. Halfway through the degree, I took a break, not because it wasn’t a great course, or I wasn’t interested in film production, but I was 19 and intuitively knew I needed more experience to be able to ‘tell stories’ in a way I wanted.

I travelled to Italy to spend time with my family and returned a few months later, taking up a 4 yr degree in Interior Architecture at UNSW. I had grown up drawing house plans, sketching landscapes and structures I could imagine in these landscapes, so Interior Design and Architecture was always something I was interested in. I knew I could always return to film and photography at a later date (which I ended up doing more than a decade later).

In my second year of my Int. Arch degree, I started working for a small architectural firm, headed by Julian Brenchley (now of Brenchley Architects and Group Architects) and Justin Long (JLA Designs). I was given a lot of responsibility in creating concepts and designs for commercial clients, my CAD skills were not great, so I was learning and producing a lot of joinery detailing by hand, which was wonderful for my technical skills in hindsight, as I had plenty of later years documenting work on AutoCAD. When I graduated, I started as a Junior Interior Designer at PDT Architects in Sydney firm and was supported really well by my talented manager, Fiona McAnna.

I then travelled for a year and ended up in London and worked with two wonderful design firms, including AMA Alexi Marmot Associates and Artillery (who have since moved from London to Melbourne!). I worked in Interior Design/Architecture for over a decade and transitioned back into Photography when I moved back to Australia. I’ve kept ties to architecture through photographing spaces, which has been a wonderful way to weave my two passions and professions.

Talk us through what a typical working day includes for you right now.

A typical day involves chatting/emailing clients for upcoming or completed shoots, sending contact sheets or final image packages to clients and connecting with new businesses for future projects.

I probably spend 1-2 days shooting various client work,  which could be in Hobart or travelling around lutruwita/Tasmania. I spend another few days editing various photo and video jobs too, which is a really enjoyable but ‘solo’ time in the process. I take time out to shoot for myself – this is a time for my own practice and enjoyment, low stakes, no expectations and just the pure joy of continuing to explore how I can get ‘closer’ to taking an image that conveys a feeling. The majority of those images are not published or shared and are my treasured moments.

A small amount of my time can also be teaching – I love sharing my professional experience in both Interior Design and Photography, as well as broader areas of sustainability and accessible design with students

What are some of the best and worst parts of your job, day-to-day.

The thing I love about photography as a profession is the extreme sides of it. It’s an insane mix of being around people (sometimes thousands if shooting large events) and then back into solo editing (which is my crafting time, alone, with my computer and music -love it!). This work offers me exactly what I love – autonomy and variety. I have a lot of control in deciding how and when I work, and who I work with. Photography also gives me an  ‘in’ to see different lives, businesses and parts of lutruwita/Tasmania, Australia and the world.

I have stood ankle-deep in a floor covered in soba noodle soup water, in an iconic Japanese ‘hole in the wall’ food joint, capturing a crazy passionate chef. I’ve trekked up a volcano at sunrise to capture sports photography above the clouds. I photographed orchestral musicians at the bottom of waterfalls in a tropical rainforest, I’ve met and captured farmers, gardeners, artists, communities, art events and food events… My curiosity to understand how people live, what drives them and how I can capture their spirit or the spirit of a place is my ultimate passion and photography is an amazing vehicle to access that. I think most photographers love this ‘people orientated’ aspect of their work.

The worst part of the job can be the professional isolation. When I was an Interior Architect, I worked in small and medium-sized Interior Design and Architectural firms – I learnt a lot just from being around other designers, especially senior designers. Hearing their conversations with clients, being a part of meetings (getting AutoCAD keyboard shortcut tips!)… I learnt directly and osmotically in that environment, but as a freelancer, I work alone and need to find ways to progress my skills and professional development.

My curiosity to understand how people live, what drives them and how I can capture their spirit or the spirit of a place is my ultimate passion and photography is an amazing vehicle to access that. I think most photographers love this ‘people orientated’ aspect of their work.

How does the local culture of where you live affect your design work and getting clients?

Broadly speaking nipaluna/Hobart and lutruwita/Tasmanian culture really supports the design, creators and independent businesses – there’s a strong history of people creating unique, beautiful products, produce and experiences (a lot more than other cultures I’ve lived in Australia and overseas). I specialise in Architectural, Tourism and Landscape photography and videography and because Tasmania design, tourism and events are so in tune with aesthetics, I’m in the perfect place to photograph beautiful design and creators. The landscapes here are epic and change every day (and every hour), so I’m literally photographing landscapes every day purely because it’s so inspiring and beautiful.  Word of mouth and face to face communication is really central to doing business in Tasmania and that suits me perfectly, as I prefer talking and meeting people, face to face and generating good relationships rather than communication via email, which is typically in other cities I’ve lived.

What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?

It’s a vibrant city in terms of design and tourism has really helped put lutruwita/Tasmania and Hobart on the ‘must visit’ list for lots of Australians and international travellers. Even with covid, and reduced tourism over the next little while, the Tasmanian population supports ‘local’ very strongly, so there’s a feeling of solidarity. We have a lot of independent business owners (hardly any chains here) from artists, architects, musicians, to retailers, cafe’s & restaurants, vineyards, accommodation and the mountain biking scene – design fits in to ALL of these areas and social media is a huge part of the ‘connection puzzle’. As a photographer, I’m in an amazing position where imagery is king and ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. So, I fit in by being able to showcase these people, their businesses, their skills, produce and services through photography and video. I love spending time with them, discussing what they need and want and finding the best way to give that through still or moving imagery.

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Professionally, it’s all about connecting with people, place and strengthening relationships – it sounds a bit clichéd perhaps, but my photography work always comes from conversations with people, directly or through word of mouth. I am looking forward to capturing some major Tasmanian events (once we open back up) and photographing lots of new builds for Architects, Builders and owner/builders.

Personally, there are a few things I’m developing over the next year – more trips (camping and cabin) stays to explore this amazing Island lutruwita/Tasmania, more ways to explore how to capture a feeling in an image, whether it be an interior, food, mountain biking or a place. I also love playing music and am part of a wonderfully supportive musical community here – music is a way to connect and change brain mode to something less intellectual, and more instinctual (which deep down informs my photography work).

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