Natalie McComas is an up-and-coming Brisbane-based photographer who has been highly praised for her documentary work too. She was commissioned by the Museum of Sydney on behalf of the Historic Houses Trust to create a documentary called Tails of the city. Natalie has also been recognised in competitions such as the Moran Photographic Prize, The Leica/CCP Documentary Award and NOISE/Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards. Her photographic work has been published in the UK's Monocle magazine and Australia's delicious magazine. She's currently travelling around Europe documenting her journey via her blog.
Which five words best describe you? Quiet observer, perfectionist, water-baby.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My grandfather gave me his old, all manual Pentax film camera in high school. I spent hours taking pictures, guessing all the settings and loved the magic of the darkroom and seeing how they all turned out. Since I shot those first few rolls of film I have always felt being a photographer was the right path for me to follow. I’m so glad I never questioned myself and whether I could do it, I just went about making it happen. I moved from country NSW to Brisbane to study photography straight after school and in hindsight it was a big move; going from the cruisy, beach lifestyle to the city. But my entire world opened up - I was a sponge for everything photography and couldn’t get enough of it. In 2005 I graduated from Griffith University with my Bachelor in Photography and First Class Honours in Social Documentary Photography. Straight out of uni I worked part time jobs and did freelance work on the side. For a while I worked full time as the in-house photographer for a local magazine but it got to the point where I couldn’t keep working for other people and freelancing at the same time. I went out on my own and everything flowed from there. One job has always led to another and I’m always looking forward to what comes next.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? There are a few good lessons I’ve learnt in the last couple of years: there's nothing to lose in trying - just have a go! One of my favourite quotes is: "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" - (Robert Schuller). The biggest lesson has been to balance my love of photography with everything else in life. I love photographing so much, it’s never felt like work – and therefore I have the tendency to take too much on!
What’s your proudest career achievement? That the majority of my work is from word of mouth.
What’s been your best decision? To follow my heart.
Who inspires you? There are so many people I draw inspiration from. Photographers: Mikkel Vang, Sara Remington, Derek Henderson, Dean Sewell, James Mollison, Jodi Bieber, Rineke Dijkstra, Narelle Autio, stylist Sibella Court, author Tim Winton and philosopher/writer Michael Leunig.
What are you passionate about? Documentary photography and films; seeing the way other people live and learning about them; the ocean, surfing, swimming, volunteer work, yoga, learning, growing, traveling, finding vintage treasures.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Hmm, it would be great to meet any of the above photographers who inspire me, but I am a bit of a David Attenborough fan. He would be so fascinating to talk to.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To travel and see as much as I can.
images courtesy of natalie mccomas