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On shooting Natalia: Dreaming or Sinking

I began dreaming or sinking,
most nights they meant the same thing.

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Every now and then, I come across songs that make me tremble. I’m a music fanatic. I find solace in music and I find inspiration in music and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things ever. Sometimes it’s the lyrics, sometimes it’s the instruments, and sometimes it’s both, combined with a certain voice. And sometimes, it’s when the artist’s voice sounds like it’s almost breaking up because the emotion they’re expressing is so real and raw and it hurts.
I never grew out of imagining myself in the music videos of songs I love. Sometimes I’m the vocalist, head banging like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes I’m that girl running away from the camera. I always had fun imagining that. So when I started doing photography, it also started becoming about how I could portray that feeling I get from a song in a picture. And this is one of the times I had to create an image (or images) based on a song – Dreaming or Sinking by Hotel Brooks.

I bawled my eyes out when I first listened to this. And you know why I love sad music so much? Because I feel like sadness comes from a very personal place, and to share that with the world is insanely brave. But more importantly, it shows us that we all hurt the same way, no matter where we come from or what our story is or who we are.

So when I contacted Natalia a couple of weeks ago about photographing her, I asked her if she’s ever done any underwater modeling and if she’d be up for it. Her response: “as long as I don’t have to wear a bikini or show too much skin”. I was thrilled. Natalia is a dancer and I knew that once she got the hang of it, she’d be able to give me some incredible poses underwater, and she did. I loved the pictures we got so much that I decided that this would be a series.

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When I explained this shoot to Natalia, I sent her a mood board that had inspiration images and lyrics.

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I only had one specific pose in mind, of her curling up and hugging her knees. But I told her that we would play around with different poses and I want her to try to give me poses inspired by the lyrics. I think she did a pretty amazing job.

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And here’s what Natalia had to say about the shoot:
I did a few intensive things so far in my life. Running a half marathon, dancing on stages in front of 12,000 people and then there is you and your photography projects, Amani. Although my eyes burn and I can barely hear you – damn! I have so much water in my ears and nose – I think this was an epic experience. We should do that again! I have a few ideas in mind for next time, now as i got how it works.”

4 Comments

  1. Dear Amani! Another beautiful set of images. I will wait for the next, which I am sure will be beautiful. And you’re right when you say, “that we all hurt the same way, no matter where we come from or what our story is or who we are”. I’m glad you’re having fun doing these works. Keep it going!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A Look Back On 2015 | Amani AlShaali

  3. Pingback: My first underwater shoot: Impressions & lessons learned - Think Natalia

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