Natalie Pavluk is a Film Club Member who was featured in our most recent Member Show Seasonal Reflections: Winter. The photos that she submitted to the show and that she has tagged us in on Instagram have intrigued us. So this week we decided to interview Natalie to get to know her more and to understand her relationship with photography.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
NP: When I was younger, I would always see my mom take pictures of me and my sister on her Nikon N65 camera, and eventually I wanted to get my hands on it, too. I remember the distinct weight and feel of all the buttons, and I already had so many positive memories documented on that camera. Since then, I had always taken a liking to film photography for its relation to the physical world, whereas digital is purely conceived from pixels.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
NP: For the summer time, I love carrying around my Lomography Fisheye camera, but since that recently decided to break, I have been enjoying the challenge of shooting with my Mamiya 645! The physicality and bulkiness of it creates an entirely new dynamic when shooting in comparison to my point and shoot; I definitely find myself shooting with more intention. Lately, I have been loving the creamy saturation of Ektar 100, and also the fact that the tones fall between neutral and warm, radiating a certain softness within each image.
PL: Many of your photos feature very basic and typical houses. What draws you to this type of subject?
NP: Recently, I have been trying to remind myself to slow down and really focus on the stillness of my composition. Especially when shooting medium format, there is a great opportunity to truly focus on the fine details and execution of a shot to really communicate the spirit of your subject. I wish more people realized the importance of design in their everyday lives; The way light and shadows distort the structure of each form as a whole is always interesting to me, as well as how people can communicate their personality through a physical space.
PL: The few photos that feature people, seem to be a mix of both posed and candid shots. What do you enjoy about photographing people? What do you find challenging about it?
NP: What I enjoy most about photographing people is my ability to see things that they may not. Being behind the camera, I love capturing little moments my friends have with each other, and being able to document our funny habits that define us at all of these different stages in our lives. What is most challenging about this though is when I do try to pose my subjects, it just feels very unnatural for me to direct them. Instead, I think it’s more meaningful to document someone’s natural movements and state of being that only the camera can capture when they aren’t looking.
PL: You mentioned that you are trying to challenge yourself to capture compositions that you feel doubtful about. What inspired you to take this on? What photo within this collection would you say is a good example of this approach?
NP: At one point, I had noticed that I’d become too caught up with trying to capture the “perfect shot,” and would stress about making sure all 15 frames were precise and consistent. While these qualities are still vital to communicate a narrative within one’s images, I also had forgotten that sometimes the images you feel unsure about will surprise you. I feel like this can definitely be seen in my image of Francesca standing in front of this jewelry storefront, where I wasn’t really feeling the shot, but then someone ended up walking in front of us and added another element to the image. One of the things I love most about photography is that there are endless ways to explore the world around you, which has been inspiring me to be more loose and free when planning my shots.
PL: Do you have any other ideas for future photo projects that you have started or plan to start?
NP: I don’t have too many specific ideas right now - Throughout the summer, I just prefer to shoot on the fly! I’ve taken a few trips throughout the year already, and love the idea of just driving around and capturing the spontaneity of being on the road. When I have the time, I’ve been dying to plan a road trip out west to go on an antique/thrifting expedition, and also find some cool photo spots along the way. That’s what I look forward to the most with photography: There’s so many new places and people to explore, and always something new to capture.
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