my journey

Road Trips Are for Getting to Know Yourself

Cheap coffee, pristine views, and the road. The road that goes on and on... And so it lulls us into a state of blissful calm and philosophical contemplation. Introspection and exploration.


This road trip didn't go as planned. And that is not a problem but a fact of life.
I love road trips because they take you out of your habitual patterns and allow you to learn about yourself and others in drastically different circumstances: away from home, sharing long hours in the car, getting lost and found in new cities...

If it wasn't for the road trip, the discovery of who you are (or a little better understanding of it), the experience of yourself in a new situation, and the fleeting new glimpses into others faced with new circumstances would not have been so easily accessible. It is a gift - one with a price (or so it has been for me), but with a wealth that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Revelation of yourself and others, realization of certain truths, discovery and novelty that have attracted the human mind long before history was written are all here on the road, free for the taking. We are the discoverers, the truth-seekers, the dreamers and the wanderers.

But poetry aside, this particular road trip turned into an experience we did not seek to find. To put it bluntly, when our car was broken into and all my clothes packed neatly in a large suitcase were gone along with 2 sets of Anton's skis, we faced a challenge - both logistical (for him) and emotional (for me).

I'm not going to get into the details of what happened, but instead just share the key profound moments that produced a shift. When what happened had finally synced-in, I found myself crying in the middle of a shopping center, contemplating how I got here (reflecting globally on my life) and why it all happened the way it did. I was overcome with emotions, and not the best ones: regret, self-pity, shame, disappointment. I felt sorry for myself and to myself, sorry about where I am, sorry about how I got there and sorry that I disappointed myself. (more below)

Anton did most of the driving

Anton did most of the driving

Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

The gems of Utah (somewhere near Salt Lake City). This moment took me back to my childhood and reminded me of my eternal love for these creatures. 

The gems of Utah (somewhere near Salt Lake City). This moment took me back to my childhood and reminded me of my eternal love for these creatures. 

Between Nevada, Utah and Idaho

Between Nevada, Utah and Idaho

Now, you may think it doesn't make sense to feel these things considering the incident was random and unrelated to my actions. Yes, that's true. But my creative mind loves to make connections, to generalize details into greater truths, to connect the dots, and so I look for patterns, messages, greater themes, and ultimately, for opportunities to instigate inner and outer change. When something throws you out of your status quo, it becomes an opportunity to profoundly change something within yourself and adjust the course of your life. So I took this opportunity to reflect truthfully and deeply on the greater picture of how I felt about myself and my life, and I let myself experience everything that came up to the surface. 

Feeling this fully and allowing the emotions to penetrate my being, it took just a few minutes of deep, raw, untaimed emotions for me to decide to move on. Along with deciding to move on, I decided that I'll figure this out. I'll get up and go forward from here. I decided to listen to my heart more, and to make more sound decisions. I decided to try harder, live truer, and be more loving, more giving and more authentic with myself first and foremost. I decided to grow up a little more and take full responsibility for myself and my actions. I decided to take back my power.

And so the bottom line is, everything is good when it comes to personal growth and self-development. Every challenge is fertile ground for this personal work. Life is full of riches - both tangible and intangible ones. It is full of surprises, twists and turns. It is full of lessons and philosophical gems. It is ever-inspiring, challenging, stimulating. It's our choice whether to give up under the external pressures of life or to participate more fully and passionately in it instead.

And when unexpected things happen, we can put it to good use - experience the emotions full force and feel alive in our human skin, analyze and learn, make a plan for something different, adjust our strategy, and start walking. One step at a time, keep your new destination in mind, and keep driving that car of your own life to better places and beautiful new destinations!

That Special Bond

The past few days a thought about that special bond has been dangling at the front of my mind...filling me with warmth and gratitude. Perhaps it is a nudge to dedicate this post to the subject of connection with my models. And in the past few days, my models have been dogs. And here's what occurred to me: 

Each photoshoot is incredibly special to me. While it is a brief encounter, it is a mini-relationship with its own intimacy and closeness. The connection a photographer and model share is unique and lasts a few hours at most, but in that time and space magic happens. And lately, this magic has been happening to me while photographing dogs. 

I've always been an animal lover, but now, I feel that love has deepened. I honor each animal I photograph and greet it like a long time friend. We form an instant connection based on warmth and mutual love. That's right, I love each soul I shoot (with my camera, of course!), and it seems to me, each one can feel my love. 

Every photoshoot, I get licks and kisses across my face from my dog models and I love every moment of it! Owners apologize for the excessive affection of their pet, but to me this is the happiest moment! It gives me so much joy to see an animal happy, enjoying itself, and treating me with trust and playfulness. There is no word to fully describe the feeling. All I can say is... Thank you. Thank you for bringing your furchild into my studio and giving me the opportunity to connect with them, get to know their character, and then capture it for you and all of us to enjoy. I feel very lucky to have these moments. It is that special bond that gives me and my work depth and meaning beyond the images I create.

Thank you to Vea & family for bringing Minka & Stirling to studio for a photoshoot with me! I adored photographing these lovebugs!

With love & gratitude always,

Natalia

Our First Hello

Here it is - a new blog. A new story to tell!

In a way, this marks history for me. Just days ago I made a big decision - one that may change my whole life. It's one of those moments when you find yourself standing at a huge fork in the road and knowing perfectly well that once you choose your direction, your life will be very different. And the further you go down one path, the further away becomes the other. Point of no return! And I'm excited. This direction - photography - sure feels right. It inspires me like nothing else ever has. It gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me up at night. Ideas flood my mind and my hands are itching to realize them. I can't wait to share my journey here with you! I hope it will be one worth following, and may it inspire us to keep dreaming, working, and realizing our imagination!

Welcome to my new website & blog! I hope you find something inspiring here and that you visit often.

Let us begin!