NARU Studios’ Founder Natalie Smith talks to Trisha Ward - Fashion and Portrait Photographer - about the beauty of creative collaboration and what it means on a personal level.
How would you describe your photographic style?
In my personal work, I am drawn to feeling and details. I am always looking for traces of people, nature and experience.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
For me it comes from many places, I’m drawn to a rawness that exists in experience. Something you can feel. It might be the scratchy inky lines of a Tracy Emin etching, the graininess of an Anders Peterson print, the abstract compositions of Mark Cohen or the creek of a foot pedal being pressed in the background of Shida Shahabis haunting music. I listen to a lot of podcasts and interviews with artists and musicians, I really enjoy learning more about the struggles and journeys creative people go on.
'I’m drawn to a rawness that exists in experience. Something you can feel.'
Does your background in Fine Art also influence your work as a Photographer?
I think that having an awareness of how artists throughout history have channelled their experience of the world into a visual language has given me a really valuable base from which to grow my own.
What influences informed the look and feel for the first NARU campaign, Edition 001?
Minimalism, a sense of architecture and femininity. Shooting in the studio gives you an opportunity to really observe an object and how it relates to a human without anything to distract the viewer. It allows the viewer to appreciate the design and quality of the object. I think we wanted to capture the beauty of the bags with a sense of playfulness, often framing the bags with the body and garments.
Why were you drawn to Naru?
I loved the bags and artistic influences behind their designs. The details are extraordinary. When the brand approached me to collaborate they did so with the most beautiful creative deck full of narrative. I was both hooked and inspired by Nat and Toni who spoke my language. I was drawn to the ethos of the brand and loved the conscientious approach to the design and manufacture of the hand made bags.
How important is creative collaboration for you?
I think it is very important and a key part of developing my skills and visual language. Each collaboration brings with it a new opportunity to try things out, to play and to reach solutions which creates a lot of personal growth and surprise. I also love the process of meeting and working with new creatives, one of the best bits of my work is getting to meet and make new connections with new people, it is really enriching.
'Each collaboration brings with it a new opportunity to try things out, to play and to reach solutions which creates a lot of personal growth and surprise.'
What keeps you hopeful for the future?
People and especially young people fighting for equality and environmental issues.
Do you have any exciting plans for 2023?
So far I have planned to go to Glastonbury with friends this summer. I have never been before so I am very excited for that to happen. Work wise, I am looking forward to meeting new creatives and collaborators and being given new challenges. I love that my work is a mix of both the artistic and the technical. There are always new problems to solve and new things to learn.