Natalia Seth, also known as escapingyouth on Instagram, is a photographer and multi-media artist who quite literally turns her dreams into a reality. In our interview, she explains her creative process: she drifts off into the unconscious, sketches whatever comes to mind, and executes it through photography. She and her whimsical art are recognized world-wide and have captivated over 220,000 people on Instagram. She creates self-portraits and dreamy landscapes, with pops of color and passion in every photo. She is willing to embrace her creative energy and her art is so beautifully different than the rest and that’s what makes her so unique.
When did your interest in photography begin? It started when I was 13 years old, when I happened upon an instagram account that was run by a teenage girl a bit older than me. She posted surrealistic composites on her page, and I remember being fascinated by them. Some had floating body parts, others she was walking on clouds…it was all so magical. My curiosity piqued, and I looked for a cheap editing app that I could edit in and play around with cutting objects out. I constantly nagged my mom to borrow her iPhone 4s so I could use the selfie self-timer camera and eventually convinced my parents to buy me my first DSLR for Christmas.
Your photos are stunning. Tell me about your inspiration and the magic and process behind wanting to take such a colorful and creative direction. It starts as a dream! Quite literally. Many of my ideas and inspirations come from laying down in bed and clearing my mind, then random thoughts come into mind as I drift into the unconscious. I sketch out most of my ideas in my notebook, then go out and shoot the concept (which is usually a self-portrait). If I don’t find inspiration there, I walk around and look for environments that I can turn into something that no one has ever seen before. I then pull it into Lightroom and Photoshop, where the real magic happens.
How did you get started on Instagram? After I found the girl’s account that inspired me to start photography, I started to use my own to post my surrealistic creations. I found a community of photographers and editors and we helped each other grow. As the years progressed, I found that I could use my skills to promote companies, which was super exciting! Free stuff? What young teen wouldn’t want free stuff?
In the beginning, I was emailing hundreds of companies a week, but then they started to come to me. I eventually grew my skill set and audience, and made enough money to buy my own camera and upgrade to Photoshop. I became lucky enough to work with some of my dream companies, such as Adobe and Coca-Cola.
As both a photographer and a person on social media, what do you think are the best parts of growing as a creative? Growing as a creative has expanded my mind and encouraged me to think in ways I wouldn’t have before. As a child I was super awkward and shy, and finding this medium has allowed me to channel my weirdness through my images. When I couldn’t express my feelings in words, I created images instead. It’s a sort of therapy that has given way for me to connect with other like-minded people. Creating art and building a community around it has shaped the person I am today.
What is The Imaginary World Of Natalia Seth? It is the visual representation of the playground in mind, with all the fun, strange, and unusual parts included. The book will be the collection of the many worlds I’ve created throughout the years, and is made so the viewer is part of the storyline as well. It isn’t a written work, so my goal is for the audience to be inspired to create their own version of what’s going on from photo to photo. I’m SO excited for it to come out.
What would you say to anyone who is inspired by you and is wanting to get into photography? Any advice? Create with no limits. If something pops in your head and you think it may be too weird, do it. Make it reality and see how it turns out. Good chances are that it’s a good idea, but social influences shape and curve our thought processes to think along the accepted norm. Be the weirdest person you know and let your personality shine through your art. [cw-mark]