Enter Natasha Zubair. She’s a photographer from NCA, who could also probably be mistaken for a photographer from Russia, because…well…she looks Russian (why else?). I’ve been a longtime follower of Natasha, and have always felt a mixture of awe and envy every time I look at the stuff she creates, partly because I am a human who is susceptible to feelings of envy, but mostly because her work is just so beautiful and you’d have to be a monster to not feel the same way (minus the envy, probably). MangoBaaz Campus spoke to her recently about her photography and her stationary line, and here’s what she had to say.
Natasha is in her 4th year at NCA, where she’s studying Communications Design. She’s also a freelance graphic designer, photographer, videographer, and the owner of her very own stationery line.
Clearly, she’s a busy person. She says she was 12 years old when she got her first digital point and shoot camera. “Everyone in my class had one and would use them for bathroom mirror selfies while I would plan fake photoshoots with my friends and do their makeup and have my hand at portrait photography and landscape photography. I have never stopped photographing since!” she said.
Natasha says her mother has been extremely supportive and that she would be nowhere without her. She says “I get very demotivated from time to time and she’s the one who constantly pushes me to never give up and keep working. She’s the one who helps me plan all my shoots and pack my notebook orders. She’s literally my other half.”
Her passion for photography has been surprisingly great for her academic life.
“I’ve learned to divide my time equally between my work and NCA, and I use the skills I learn in one place in the other. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m very irresponsible and lazy in everything other than my work.” says Natasha.
When asked about her influences, she says “Internationally it would be Laura Makabresku, Maya Beano and Man Ray. Locally it would be my teacher Sir Umar Nadeem, Rizwan Haq and the team of StopStyle!”
When asked what her creative process is like, she says it has changed a lot over the years.
“My shoots used to be much more spontaneous and I think that’s because I was in an experimental phase in my life.” she explains. “Now my shoots are almost always planned and thought out, and therefore much less frequent than before which I’m not too happy about!”
Because we’re terribly nosy, we convince her to tell us whats inside her kitbag.
She says “I feel like people expect me to have some really crazy gear when in reality I just have a camera and one lens that I use for almost everything. I am a sole believer that editing can fix the worst pictures and make a world of a difference so it’s never been about the gear for me. I used a canon 70d and a 50mm 1.8 for the last two years and created all my work from it. It’s the perfect camera for beginners and I still go back to it from time to time.”
She tells us that photography is so much more than what camera or lens you have – it’s about the concept, the feeling and the time you have put into a photograph. Everything else is just secondary.
Natasha posts a lot of 35mm pictures on Instagram, and reveals to us that 35mm film is actually her favorite format. She also really loves portrait photography.
About 35mm film, she says “I’m a very nostalgic and anxious person and I feel that’s exactly what film represents. I usually tend to let my used films collect over a period of time (which usually only makes my anxiety worse) to the point where I’ve almost forgotten what I’ve photographed. There’s an exciting element of surprise when you have your negatives in your hand because you don’t know how your photos will turn out.”
As for her favorite kind of photography, she says it’s portraits, even though she thinks she is super socially awkward. “I love how people interact with cameras and how a photograph can truly be worth a thousand words.”
She told us that she loves that photography can help you relive moments. But it also taught her to sometimes put down the camera and enjoy the moment.
She said “I love that even when you forget about some memories, photographs will always remain in your life. So even if you can’t relive a moment, you’ll always have that moment frozen.”
“[Photography taught me] that sometimes you need to put down your camera and enjoy the moment. You don’t need to take your camera everywhere with you – even your mobile camera can help you store some memories!” she adds.
In addition to being an awesome photographer and videographer, Natasha also has her own super cool stationery line!
“My entire childhood was spent obsessing over stationery. And I kid you not, I always knew from the start that I would create my own stationery line one day. I’ve never really looked at it in a business point of view, I’ve just always loved and appreciated stationery and I just wanted to share that feeling with everyone around me!” she says when asked about the inspiration behind her stationery line, adding that “It makes my day when people send messages to me telling me how much they love my notebooks.”
When asked if she plans on expanding her stationery line, she answered in the positive.
“Definitely. This is the one thing I haven’t rushed in my life and I’m taking it one step at a time but for the near future I’d definitely like to add more products to the line and my plans for the long term are to have my own stationery store!”
Her advice to aspiring student photographers is simple: research, and practice.
“Research, and being aware of the work around you is important, in my opinion. I feel like we all naturally have a tendency to get lost in a bubble or stick to a certain style, and that’s okay, as long as you know when to let go. I always recommend just looking at other photographers and artists work on Behance, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. It will open your eyes to the endless possibilities and amazing work that is out there!” she says.
She continues “Practice, practice, practice. You won’t get paid gigs for a while in the beginning and that should never be your goal anyways. Your goal should be to create the best art work that you can. So go out and shoot as much as possible! That is the most fun you’ll ever have during this journey because you learn so much about yourself. I used to plan shoots weekly when I was first starting out and that has made all the difference.”
Thank you so much Natasha, for talking to us. We definitely recommend checking out her instagram @natashazubair for more beautiful pictures. You can also buy her stationery @natashazubairstationery 🙂
Who are some of your favorite photographers? Let us know in the comments below!