Who is Natalie Field and what do you do?
I am a storyteller. My interest lies in the underlying narrative of the artwork, and the emotion it evokes in the viewer. These narratives often take the shape of conceptual portraits, in which the subject is the framed focus, and surreal landscapes, in which they are simply the protagonist through whom I speak. My medium is photograpy, but my process would be described as photo-manipulation: Using digital technology as an essential tool in the creative process, elements from everyday scenes captured in digital photographs, scanned negatives and digitized objects are deconstructed, only to be reconstructed into new realities, creatively retouched to fabricate scenes from fantasy.
How would you define your style or art?
Surrealism: A term originally used to describe the art movement of the 20th century which focussed on the sub-conscious and was inspired by the theories of Freud and Automatism. During this period artists like Salvador Dali used unnatural and irrational juxtapositions and combinations to create a visual rendition of these concepts. Through my own work I explore aspects of the human mind like consciousness, perception and memory; depicting characters in dreamlike states in images that are imbued with concepts like metamorphosis, the transmigration of the soul and the possibility of parallel universes.
What inspires your work?
I’ve been obsessed with the freedom of thought offered by fantasy from a very young age, whether in the form of art, literature, film or the obscurities from my own dreams which I capture in a Dream Journal. This has slightly warped my perception of reality, as I now see the possibilities of a narrative in waiting in every setting and experience. I am also influenced by nature, biology and science (or the lack thereof, as expressed through concepts like anti-gravity) and most importantly history (with many of my images referencing objects or places of antiquity). I also find inspiration from music, the master art for evoking emotions, and can only attempt to capture the imagination of the viewer in the same way as a beautiful song resonates with the listener.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a new series exploring organic morphology and transformation entitled “Breathe in… Breathe out… Let the human in…” I collaborated with my make-up artist turned friend to do a session around her newly found passion for yoga developed at a time of loss and change in her life. I had just watched a Creative Live (www.creativelive.com) workshop by portrait photographer Jennifer Thoreson (http://jenniferhudsonfineart.com), who’s simple yet captivating portraits of the female form greatly inspired this body of work. Off course I had to bring in a touch of insanity, adding natural elements from the ocean to point towards evolution and the ever-evolving state of the human existence. While retouching I was listening to the new single “Human” by Indie Folk band “Of Monsters and Men”, who’s lyrics captured the theme of this series in words I could not find. And so the title was formed.
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
Make the time to create art that expresses your views and passion, as this is what makes you unique. I have been blessed with an abundance of commissioned work in the genres of fashion and commercial photography, both of which I love, but does not express my personal desire for storytelling. So it is important to do something every day that keeps you on your personal path of growth and takes you a step closer to realising your dreams. For me that is anything from contemplating life, to learning a new digital technique or introducing my work to a new audience. One of the key takeaways for me from the workshop mentioned above was “Thinking about making art is not making art” – Jennifer Thoreson.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
In 2011 I was invited to participate in a group exhibition at the ArtEC in Port Elizabeth entitled “Now in 4 Rooms”.
“When curator Sandy Coffey first approached me for the exhibition, she suggested the theme ’till now’. I toyed with this phrase, and rather than taking it literally and exhibiting work that have marked my career ‘till now, I would represent the knowledge and skills I had developed in my time as a photographer and digital artist to create a new body of work: a reflection on my process rather than the works themselves. To this purpose, I further explored my interest in photo manipulation as an art-form, a turning point for my stylistic development as an artist. The highlight of this collection is a 3 piece series entitled “On the Other Side”. Inspired by Paul van Dyk’s song of the same name, this is an interpretation of the lyrics “…when I close my eyes and reach the light, see you on the other side…”, which suggest an afterlife or parallel dimension. I interpret this as a space and time without boundaries or physical limitations. This sense of mystic developed throughout these pieces, each imbued with its own narrative.
Where can our readers follow your work?
If you would like to see me in action and follow my work process, please get in touch to find out more on the workshops I offer on various aspects of photography and digital art. The most exiting of these will be taking place at the Photo & Film Expo at the Coca-Cola dome in Johannesburg from the 19th-22nd of November, where I will be opening the Vanguard stage every morning with a four part series culminating in the “The Unexpected Image”. For more information please visit http://www.photofilmexpo.com/
BREATH I 2015
BREATH II 2015
BREATH III 2015
INFINITE INGUS 2014
ON THE OTHER SIDE III
SLEEPING BIRTH 2014
THE MESSAGE 2011