Natalie's work revolves around escapism, diversity and inclusivity. Influenced by romanticism and surrealism, her coffee table book, Sanctuary, aims to to visualize and create a space for the mythical realms created in her mind as a child, in hopes that this can inspire others and create a sanctuary for them when they need.
The aim of Sanctuary was to create a book with inclusive and modernized fairytale imagery and tell a new story of sexually liberated styling, independent female narratives, and diverse subjects that moves away from the traditional Eurocentric focus within fairytales. I wanted to allow an escape to a place where everything ends happily ever after. I was inspired by art movements such as surrealism and romanticism as both genres encourage breaking boundaries with creativity and escapism.
While Surrealism creates the opportunity to produce things that do not and cannot exist, romanticism creates a space for us to appreciate nature, bend rules, and freely imagine an idealized world. I carried these aesthetic values throughout my imagery. Romanticism also gives validity to the application of free thought and personal expression in art and reminds us that when we contribute our individuality to society, others can benefit from it, such as visualizing my Sanctuary to be used as a safe space.
The core of the fairytale aesthetic will always include vivid imagination, otherworldly creatures, and nature defying laws of physics, and while the typical European/ renaissance fairytale aesthetic will be heavily referenced, I wanted to integrate current and futuristic aspects into my project to create a fresher, more inclusive take on fantasy. As a person of color, I know what it feels like to feel underrepresented, and I wanted to create a space that everyone can feel the fantasy of.
I aim to create surreal imagery that peaks imagination and provides an otherworldly aspect to fashion and beauty. I was inspired by a quote from Tyler Mitchell: "People say utopia is never achievable but I love photography’s possibility of allowing me to dream and make that dream become very real.”