It is with great pleasure that we share with you the first edition of our 'Quietude Series'. A series where we embrace the state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or a place.
We were honoured to have beautiful photographer Natalie Salloum take us on a journey of what it is like being a creative and a mother. Enjoy a glimpse into Natalie's world, the woman behind the lens as she brings a sense of beauty, honesty and uniqueness to all that surrounds her.
As a freelance creative, someone who enjoys travelling and new experiences, has your season at home changed the way you view your own creative practice?
A huge portion of my inspiration comes from travelling. I love exploring & photographing landscapes, flora & fauna along with my children. It just make me happy - it’s a practice I have always loved and until recently have just identified it as a “creative practice” or “creative outlet”. It’s something I am motivated to do without even being aware of it. I feel so grateful to have this passion, it’s very rewarding.
Just prior to lockdown we moved into our new home. It was really good timing actually. Lockdown gave us time to settle in and my creative energy was put to arranging rooms and organising our new home however I did miss taking photos. In our back yard a Manchurian Pear had flowered, I took photos of it everyday but was not satisfied with the tree alone so I completed a series of self-portraits of the boys and I with it in the background and with that my creative desire was fulfilled. For a little while anyways.
My usual creative process-working as a photographer is greatly influenced by my clients vision such as styling, location and mood. Being at home allowed me time and energy to create my artworks. I spent time photographing flowers from the garden, I practiced Ikebana and practised it also.
I feel like even with restrictions if you’re a creative type you will find inspiration wherever you are, it may take some time but it will come.
How much of your practice is instinctive and how much is taught? How has your style developed over the years?
I am a self taught photographer. I also have a very clever brother who is a photographer - he has taught me a lot, particularly when it comes to the technical stuff. Most of my practice is still instinctive. As a working photographer I have leant that you will not have control in all shooting situations whether it be light, styling or location. I find it is best to go with the flow and trust your instincts. Trusting your instincts and unique style will benefit you in the long run. People appreciate unique beauty & if you see the beauty in something quite often others will too if you present it to them.
Can you tell us a little about motherhood and the impact this has had on your own creativity?
Motherhood is what sparked my interest in photography. It was a desire to capture my children & their surrounds. My boys were born in Sydney and we spent the first few years of their lives there. We lived close to the Royal National Park so we spent the boys younger days exploring beaches, clifftops & bushland. I would pack snacks, water, nappies, my camera and off we would go for hours. I loved capturing my boys and the beautiful landscapes so I purchased a camera.
Quite often there was a creative vision behind each outing. I would consider the location and time of day in order to capture a vision I had thought up. I would get home, load images and put together a story of images from our adventure. I loved the process. From there I would go onto offer my services to friends & through word of mouth before I knew it I had a part time photography business. Whilst at the time I wasn’t aware but having this creative outlet made me a better Mum. I had a passion that kept me motivated and just really happy.
"Motherhood is what sparked my interest in photography. It was a desire to capture my children & their surrounds."
Can you share a little glimpse into your style? How would you define luxury for yourself?
My photography style is classic, clean, romantic and also a little moody. People often tell me my work has an editorial feel which I love. In my personal life I’m quite neutral-I wear black, beige and denim quite a bit. I dress for comfort and functionality mostly. My home is filled with antique or second hand furniture. I love to mix old and new-recently I purchased a MCM couch, dining table and chairs, they sit beautifully amongst my old pieces. I love old art particularly 19th century pieces. I want a home that’s interesting to look at that’s full of things I love.
Luxury for me is arriving home after a long day exploring the outdoors to a warm shower, comfortable clothes, beautiful food and a movie on the couch.
Have you discovered a favourite space or corner of your home?
I am currently creating this space! My bedroom has a large window that leads to our front verandah. I recently had my builder cousin come out to measure up for some french doors that will replace the window. I’ll put a table & two chairs here for my husband and I to have coffee of a morning. A quiet space for us away from the boys.
Best read during lockdown?
Best read was The Biggest Estate on Earth, by Bill Gamage. The book describes how Aboriginal people managed their land in 1788 including strategies on hunting and gathering before the europeans arrived. I absolutely love the Australian bush and reading this book was such an eye opener. I love how evidence is provided by comparisons of original artworks completed by early Europeans to photographs taken decades later after Aboriginal people were no longer able to tend to their country. I found the difference in landscape disturbing and really sad when considering the full story of our history. The Aboriginals obviously cared for and managed the land in a far more systematic way than ever given credit for. Such a beautiful piece of writing and a really important message.
Where do you want to explore in 2022?
In 2022 I want to explore the Northern Territory. When covid first hit in 2020 we were one week off departing for a 12 month trip around Australia. We had moved out of our home, packed all of our belongings into a shipping container, the boys were enrolled in distance education and we were ready to go but unfortunately it was not meant to be. Of all the places we would have seen I was most excited about the Northern Territory. I have visions of us camping in a remote location surrounded by red dirt, water holes, giant boulder and clear starry skies. So I’m hoping come June/ July that’s where we’ll be. Fingers crossed.
Above - Nat shows her favourite Saddler & Co piece, the limited edition Saddle Bag in Toffee
Interview with Jemima Aldridge | Words & Photography by Nat Salloum |