Beyond The Wanderlust » Inspirational Photography Blog for Storytellers Worldwide

The Narrative Society: Educator Interview with Natasha Kelly

Most artists have a point in their life where they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?

I have always been a storyteller & a bit of a documentarian – I’ve been keeping diaries & taking photos ever since I was a kid. I’d always poured over our old family photo albums – photos of my parents families were pretty much the only way that I knew my relatives as my immediate family were the only ones that lived in Australia. There was also a big age gap in between my older siblings & me, so I have always been curious & fascinated about how other families interacted. With photography, I had always been drawn to photojournalism & street photography, they were the genres/styles that gave me butterflies. When I got back to being serious about photography for the first time since my teenage years, documentary photography was it for me. I had my kids & it was like I suddenly had these subjects that I knew intimately with me 24/7 & all I wanted to do was photograph the things that I was afraid that I would forget. It was always just for me as I was afraid to put it out there, I had wanted to become a photographer since I was a teenager but had always been too afraid to pursue it. It wasn’t until I had a miscarriage in 2011 that I realized life was too short to be afraid to do what you really want to do in your life & it was definitely too short to worry about what everyone else would think, so I took a deep breath & went for it.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Documenting our children’s lives is so important. What is your secret to not getting bored with your daily life?

Oh man, I’m not going to say that I I don’t ever get bored with my daily life, because some days it feels like you are living the exact same day over & over again! But I think that if you are able to stay open, curious & keep your eyes open you will see things differently. There’s a quote that I love, from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, ‘I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.’ I try to remember that when ever life starts to feel a bit boring.

If there was only one moment you could photograph for the rest of your days, what would it be?

This is a really hard one. I think it’s when I come home from work late at night & find that all three of my kids have snuggled up in my eldest daughter’s bed together. Seeing them all curled up & cuddled together peacefully gets me every time – because during the day, it’s total warfare!

documentary photography, the narrative society

Personally I find more inspiration from things outside of photography. Where do you find inspiration most?

Life. Just getting out & living.

documentary photography, the narrative society

We all go through periods of mental blocks. How do you push past times of not finding inspiration?

I take a break. I might not pick up my camera or take it with me for a while. I’ll read a novel or go to the art gallery with my kids. If it’s taking me longer than usual to get through a block, I’ll force myself to take photographs – boring, ugly, pathetic photographs – just to get a jump-start & to stop myself from getting too rusty.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Who in your life inspires your art the most?

At the moment, my children.

documentary photography, the narrative society

What inspires you more - light or movement?

Definitely movement. I’m not fussy about light, you can’t be when you are a documentary photographer, so you take what you get in any given situation & make the best of it. Movement is always something that I am thinking about in the back of my mind, so when I see it, I jump at it. I don’t know what it is exactly, it’s just that sense of motion really draws me in.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Documentary and lifestyle photography are different to some. How would you define them?

I define the two like this: documentary photography is life exactly as it is – mess, chaos, raw emotion – it all happens organically & you are there to photograph life as it unfolds. The photographer doesn’t have any input as to how things are going to happen, you just wait & watch for the story. Lifestyle photography is art directed. Subjects are moved to certain areas, told to stand or do things to get a reaction, to produce that emotion. Lifestyle photography shows the best version of the subjects, documentary photography shows the subjects as they are behind closed doors.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather continue with your life or restart it?

Restart it. As long as I could remember the old version, so I knew what to keep!
documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather reverse one decision you make every day or be able to stop time for 10 seconds every day?

Reverse one decision.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?

Hmmm, this is a tough one! Maybe, always have to say everything that’s on my mind. Because I kind of do that anyway! ha!

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather have no internet or no cell phone?

No cell phone.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather lose the ability to use GPS for the rest of your life or lose the ability to use a debit or credit card?

I’m kinda lost without GPS – no pun intended! But then I never have cash on me. Hmmm, I’m going to go with no debit/credit card!

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather have eyes that can film everything or ears that can record everything?

Eyes that can film everything.

Would you rather have unlimited storage space on your iPhone or unlimited storage space in real-life?

Definitely unlimited storage on my iPhone!

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather walk the Great Wall of China or Amazon River?

I’d walk the great Wall of China.

Would you rather win an Academy Award or an Olympic Gold Medal?

An Academy Award.

documentary photography, the narrative society

Would you rather be fabulously famous and poor or unknown and rich?

Unknown and rich

documentary photography, the narrative society

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Natasha Kelly of Natasha Kelly Photography
F | W | BIG

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