We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalia Molina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
You know, for a while risk-taking was a habit. I was a highly impulsive young adult who attracted an abundance of experiences, friendships, and inspirations – and I don’t regret a single thing. The day came finally when those risks became detrimental to my stability. I found myself hopping around from city to city, trying to figure out where to establish myself long-term after a few risks “didn’t work out”. Risk-taking lost its allure and I had to figure out a balance without letting fear interfere. In this industry, work comes and goes, and making firm decisions can be terrifying. They can leave you sleeping on a friend’s couch for a few months while you get ghosted by clients, or they can open up doors. Essentially, I don’t regret a single risk I’ve taken because those moments of strife humbled me. The outcome is a person who knows their worth, knows their strength, and can make something out of nothing.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started young. As a kid, I drew portraits. As a young adult, I picked up my dad’s old camera. He was a pretty amazing portrait photographer but only pursued it as a hobby. I was only two years old when he passed, so his images were my way of getting to know his spirit. I think my work juxtaposes the liminal space between the world we know and the ether that gives it life. I’ve been shooting for 20 years and something I’ve always stayed true to is shooting subjects that don’t fit the ‘traditional’ western mold of beauty. I’m a queer person of color who dealt with a lot of bullying growing up, so I’ve made it a lifelong commitment to explore the godliness of the ‘misfit’.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For starters, I would highly suggest using a rental car service like Getaround. Find a convertible, drive to Malibu, catch a bit of sun and sea, have lunch and drinks at a local spot, then head back to the city before sundown. We would then drive uphill on Mulholland Dr. to catch the sunset and grab a pizza in Los Feliz. Normally, I’d end the night at Zebulon but during COVID times, unlikely. The next day, we would start off early with a hike up Runyon Canyon and then cool off at Echo Park Lake with a $10 swan boat ride. The lake has a cafe with delicious sandwiches and salads so we’d probably eat before the ride. At home, we would make dinner, have wine, and karaoke.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My amazing friends and family. I’m fortunate to have friends all over the world who are always encouraging me or collaborating with me. Having friends who let me sleep on their couch for months when things got difficult because at some point they had experienced the same. Community is so important and I can’t stress that enough. I feel like my work is an ode to my community for being my strength when I didn’t have it.
2 photos were in collaboration with Bayitnaassene Leather