Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Wheeler.
Natalie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
In 2010, I was given my first DSLR for my 30th birthday. I just wanted a camera that would take better pictures of my children, who were toddlers then. At the time, I had no idea that photography would become one of the primary vessels through which I would develop my craft as an artist.
When I step back and look at my whole life picture, however, this all began long before I got that Canon Rebel T2i DSLR in 2010. My art is very personal and reflects my entire journey in life — it evolves as I evolve. Recently, I have focused on self-portraiture and writing stories and poems. I have always had a deep need to express myself artistically, but it wasn’t until I entered my thirties that I fully committed to that need. I can only speculate as to why it took me as long as it did to fully engage the artist within, but now, I can’t imagine living my life any other way.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I take self-portraits to explore my internal emotional landscape. My self-portraits examine the deeply personal, and oftentimes hidden, emotional cycles I feel and go through. Each photograph reveals a raw emotional baseline, and as a set represent a range of emotions that are my lived experience.
My photographs lay bare a deep-seated and life long struggle with fear of self-acceptance. It’s my way of connecting with the world and proving to myself that I do not need to hide my body, to be afraid of how I feel or to be ashamed of how I look. For me, self-portraiture has been a gateway to self-discovery of those fundamental human traits that I have kept locked away for so long: self-love, self-acceptance, and the self-confidence that comes with sharing intimate images of myself that reveal my most vulnerable sides. But it isn’t only about me. My hope is that by confronting my fears and vulnerability, I will emerge stronger and in a better place to give more of myself to the world and especially, to those who love me most.
When I think about my self-portraits, the word cycle frequently comes to mind. As a human, as a woman, and as an artist my mind constantly cycles through contradictory and sometimes frightening feelings. Each of my self-portraits can be thought of as a solitary attempt to capture, as inspiration struck, an example of a cycle.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think it’s likely the same struggle it’s always been: finding time and resources. It’s difficult to earn a living as a full-time artist, yet it’s difficult to find time to create art if you have to financially support yourself in other ways.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Through my website, Facebook and my Instagram accounts:
- Website: www.actnaturallyphotography.com
- Phone: 412-302-7010
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/natalie_a_wheeler/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.w.wheeler
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/natalie_a_w
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/actnaturallyphotography/
Natalie A Wheeler