Natalie Goldstein‘s photographs are instantly recognizable through a combination of enchanting dreamy atmosphere and warm hues. A big lover of vintage and evocative imagery, she often uses film as a medium for her work, documenting the female form and otherworldly people and places that look reminiscent of ’90s movies.
Originally from Seattle, but now based in Los Angeles, Goldstein stumbled across photography during her college years which eventually led to her capturing friends and concerts at local venues. Elsewhere, fashion proves to be another creative catalyst for her portfolio. Natalie often works on the intersection of these two areas, while also combining the tools of editorial, artistic, and documentary photography.
For Behind The Lens, Natalie guides us through her marvelous portfolio as well as how she found her aesthetic, delving into the NFT space, and much more. Read on for our conversation.
When it comes to photography, describe your aesthetic.
Now, it’s much more dreamy and ethereal but also super colorful because it shoots past being subtle. It’s like this wonderland that has a vintage aesthetic which I like because I shoot on film except for when I’m shooting music events. Although that’s a goal one day, shooting all film at music festivals would be sick.
Warmer hues are a common theme in your portfolio. Do you naturally gravitate to fluorescent tones when shooting?
I love my warm tones. Blue, I don’t use unless there’s the sky or water, but I’m not using blue lights on a subject ever. I gravitate to pink, orange, and yellow because I love the warm look of the sun so when I’m shooting, it just ends up looking super warm. For example, I strive for sunset hues in my photos especially when I use colored lights.
I’m curious to know, what does your post-shoot process look like?
It depends on whether it’s digital or film. With film, I’m mostly in Lightroom color correcting and bringing out the colors to make it more ethereal. With digital photos, I take them in Photoshop and try to make them more film-like to make it look like something you would never see in real-life. Sometimes it can take me up to five minutes to edit photos or even four hours. I touch up in Photoshop, get rid of things, and do everything else there.
You’re originally from Seattle, but you moved to Los Angeles a bit over a year—what’s the transition been like for you?
Moving from San Luis Obispo where I was the only event photographer shooting music events is definitely different. I’ve been in LA for a year now and I didn’t get my first music bookings until recently. Now, I’m working with Stranger Than in LA, and Circoloco in Austin. So it took me a while to breakthrough, but the industry is really saturated out here. It’s cut-throat and intimidating, but when I see other photographers achieving amazing things, I know that I’m going to get there one day.
I love Los Angeles, and while I would love to stay in New York, LA is the perfect place for what I’m doing right now. I hope to be able to be bicoastal one day and travel all over the world and take photos of different musicians. As of recently, I’ve been finding a lot of success in the music industry and can see myself working with musicians and DJs I’ve always wanted to work with.
Although you don’t box yourself into any particular group of people, you mostly shoot women. What fascinates you so much about the female figure?
I’ve shot with two guys and I’m definitely trying to expand that, but I love working with women. I think there’s something special about shooting with an all-women team. Just the energy of it and women are a lot of the time not put in situations where they can get ahead. If you look at every major publication, everything is shot by a man.
I think there’s a lot more you can do with the female body because they don’t mind being feminine or more masculine in a pose. They can also contour themselves and you can do so much! Although I’d love to work with more e-boy slash metro men. There’s just something about women, they’re ethereal and magical.
Which projects have you really enjoyed shooting this past year?
Everything I’ve done this year has kind of taken off. One of my favorite shoots is the one I turned into an NFT series with Laura Pieri, that was amazing. Another one would be with the Herbet Twins, Sierra [Brave], and Val [Bilbao], and it was a murder scene Halloween shoot in a bathroom. I thought of a scene in my head and I reached out to them to turn my vision into real life. We did it to a tea and everyone loved them. I got a tattoo right after at the same house, it was just something special.
Now, I’m starting to work with a lot of weed brands which I really like. There’s something about working in the weed industry, everyone’s just happy and having fun. I can’t choose one project, I can keep going on and on. The ones I shot with Nathan and the two horses I painted gold, I loved those. I think the next series that I haven’t announced, which is going to be an NFT collab with my roommate, is going to be pretty crazy.
I know that you recently got into the NFT space not too long ago. Tell me about your experience so far and what do you think are the benefits of other photographers getting involved as well?
At first, I just saw money and I’m like people are making a ton of money from this. Getting further in the space, it’s a way to value creatives more than they get valued in real-life and web2 spaces. People take advantage of creatives so often, including me, and I think in the NFT space you can take that back. You’re in control of everything and it’s not a competition, it’s more or so how can I help you. It’s starting to inspire new types of work and mediums that I would’ve never thought to do and I’ve made a bunch of friends through it.
Where do you see your work going from here?
I want to start working closer with a lot more musicians, whether it be going on tour or being a creative director for one of their projects. My goal is to create more connections with consistent clients and build relationships. It’s just a matter of when. I also want to work on a lot more editorial projects with fashion magazines and shoots. This is a great start and something I can see in my future is traveling across the world to shoot art and music festivals. I can see my work really developing and I’m excited to see where it takes me.
Elsewhere in photography, Amy Peskett chats about her aesthetic, self-portraiture, and advice to young photographers.