I’ve been told that I’m brave for taking photographs that are so real – the family mess and chaos, the crumbs on the table, the dishes in the sink and the laundry piled up all over the place. I don’t think that it’s brave, it’s just me.
It’s as if Natasha Kelly, an Australian photographer, invites us into her home, arms wide open, before she’s cleaned up for the party. The kids are still sleeping or in their pajamas or in the middle of dinner. We’re that tight, it seems. We all want to be that close and real with someone, don’t we? So close that we aren’t spared any of their beautiful and messy reality.
Natasha, a mother of three and natural light documentary photographer from Melbourne, sees the world in unfiltered stories. Each image is rich in detail that is simultaneously specific and universal. Her familiar kitchen table with remnants from other meals and playdough is hers alone but yet just like ours.
Natasha is fiercely present to capture what is hers and then instantly ours. We have all been delighted and surprised by the creative help our children provide. Her images trigger our own history as we stop and relive the moments she documents.
…people like to see those beautiful posed images full of golden light & perfection, they also love to see images of the everyday – getting to peek in behind closed doors and getting a glimpse of someone else’s reality.
When I’m photographing my family, I’m not looking to take pretty pictures of them. I want to photograph memories. I see them as being a part of the family’s history, something that years down the track, we can sit together and go through the (copious amount of) photographs I’ve taken and start reminiscing. I want my photographs to be conversation starters about the past.
Even the common milestones like riding a bike without training wheels or losing a front teeth feel personal and new in front of Natasha’s camera.
Natasha’s children welcome her camera except when they don’t. And when they don’t, she puts it down. When they do, she invites them to take part in the process. Her eldest, Piper, has this to say about being a frequent subject of her mother’s work,
I think it’s cool. I like when you show me the photos that you have taken of us. I really like it when I get to help you put them together on your website.
Being transparent and collaborative works for Natasha within her family and the larger photography community. When she isn’t documenting the ins and outs of her family, she runs a successful photography business where she delivers her talent of observing and capturing other people’s reality. Additionally, she is co-founder of Sham of the Perfect, a collective of 15 documentary and storytelling photographers from around the world who showcase how beautiful real life can be. Lucky for us, Natasha Kelly has built a family and career upon the allure and artistry of the everyday.