Mo: How does this January feel like compared to other January's?
Natalia: They are continuing to increase and my world is getting bigger. My workflow is becoming more clear even if it's becoming more hectic. I'm grateful and my work is making sense, which doesn't mean that I got it figured out in any way, but my work is in a good place right now.
Mo: Do you feel like you're in a good place right now?
Natalia: I feel like I'm in a place of self-actualization. I think that goes into my work which makes things a little more fluid. I do feel good considering the reality of life.
Mo: Through the adversities we've all had and have, I feel like its a privilege to find something we love and work towards that. Regardless if we're fully or partially committed to it, we've found something that satisfies us and that's powerful. Sometimes we forget that. You get into a stream alongside others who've found what they love, so it becomes easy to forget that there are people who don't or won't get that opportunity, unfortunately.
Mo: The weird balance of personal and work life is completely different than how others operate, and it's not the most sustainable route. On one hand you're grateful for being able to do this, but on the other hand, shit is really hard and breaks some people.
Natalia: Yeah, it's not an easy route. I’ve had conversations like this often with my closest friends who are creatives. The process when you don’t have certain accessibility and resources to achieve what you want to accomplish, which can take longer and become frustrating and very discouraging. It can be easy for some people and that's cool, personally I’m inspired by people who take their own path to make their work.
Mo: It's interesting to see how people accomplish what they want with whatever medium they choose. Sometimes people stick with one medium, and sometimes people want other mediums to communicate with each other. Do you feel like you're someone who wants to stick with one medium right now?
Natalia: I want to make music videos. I’d love to work with artists like FKA Twigs and Bad Gyal.
Mo: How long have you had that feeling, and why?
Natalia: I've been obsessed with music my entire life. It's informed so much about me. A lot of the people I shoot are musicians and I get to do really cool stories like the one I did for The Times about a newer generation of front women. I think working with the type of people I photograph would be a dream. I look at more films than I look at photos.
Mo: I’m assuming you play music during the shoot.
Natalia: Yeah, I ask what they're into. I'll just put on Erykah Badu or Solange and see how they're feeling. But it's not about what I want; it's about what they like. I listen to specific music when I'm editing, though. I found an amazing composer from Mexico City, Julián Carrillo. I listen to Preludio a Colon (1925) when I edit photos on repeat. Film scores help me concentrate, too.
Mo: What has surprised you the most from learning about films?
Natalia: It's all so stimulating to me. One of my closest friends is a stylist who recently got into costume designing for films and seeing her process is beautiful. Having friends involved in these productions, watching films that inspire them, having conversations about how they create is something I want to hear about for the rest of my life. It's beautiful.
Mo: What are five films that inspire you the most right now?
Natalia: These are what come to mind right now. Chungking Express (1994) Wong Kar-wai, Mi Vida Loca (1993) Allison Anders, Cry-Baby (1990) by John Waters, Heaven Knows What (2016) by the Safdie brothers, Grey Gardens (1975) by Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer, David Maysles, Albert and David Maysles…
Mo: I want to conclude by asking what you think the purpose of your work is?