Natasja’s Diaryby Sean O’Toole / 16.04.2010
A blue eyed, white meat eater with a hint of pink in her white hair, Natasja Fourie is also a fashion photographer, music video director and aspiring feature film director (with a finished script in her back pocket). In a nutshell.
“I’ve been called an ambitious dragon disguised as a butterfly,” says the photographer when we meet to run through a list of questions. Some have also labelled her diaristic photographs weird. But just who is Natasja Fourie?
She has previously worked with photographers Emma Summerton and Rankin, the latter whose Dazed & Confused magazine she did an internship with while living in London. Her father is the playwright Pieter Fourie. Shortly after his daughter’s birth, Papa Fourie bought a small farm in Kapteinskloof up the West Coast. Of her early years, Fourie once told me: “We lived private, simple lives, secluded and far removed from modern complexities and technologies.” Birds, I’m conjecturing, are abundant there. Hence my opening question.
1. Gabar Goshawk or Cape White-Eye?
2. Natasha, Natasja, or – as you have it on Facebook – Nataska?
Natasja. Nataskha is just a little joke I have with my boyfriend; it sounds more exotic.
3. Since I mention Facebook, what do you mean when you list as an activity “breaking open the head”?
It comes from my interest shamanism. I am big on Terrence McKenna.
4. Do you work from a studio or home?
I work from home. I only do studio work in winter. In summer I prefer outdoors.
5. Who would you most like to share a cup of tea with and talk about photography? Why?
Maybe a while ago, it would have been Nan Goldin but now it is Ryan McGinley. There are similarities but it is different between the two, but McGinley is younger and probably more approachable. His work is bold and daring.
6. Guy Bourdin or Steven Meisel?
7. Larry Clark or Terry Richardson?
Larry Clark. I think his work deals with deeper levels of complexity. There is more pain and emotion.
8. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (Nan Goldin) or Untitled Film Stills (Cindy Sherman)?
The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.
9. Nadav Kander or Annie Leibowitz?
Annie Leibowitz, probably because she has been successful with both her commercial and personal work. She used her camera to deal with issues that arise in her own life, her children, the death of Susan, her father. They are difficult things to photograph. For me personally, I find that the camera helps me to process how I feel about what is happening around me.
10. Taxi Violence or violent taxi drivers?
11. Lolo Veleko or Zanele Muholi?
Zanele. [Responding to question what she thinks about Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana’s snub, she responds:] It is sad, in a way. I think it is a view a lot of people share to nudity in photographs, say compared to painting. With photographs people want more of an explanation. Who is it? Why was it taken? How was it taken?
12. Dog or cat?
13. Are you superstitious about things like the number 13, black cats, walking under ladders, throwing spilt salt over your shoulder?
14. If you could shoot a campaign for any fashion designer, who would it be? And how would you treat it?
15. What book are you reading at the moment?
I just finished Duiwelskloof by Andre P. Brink. I started with the Afrikaans version but changed to English. I’m currently reading Breaking open the Head by Terrence McKenna.
16. Last movie you saw that made you cry?
The Road. I don’t like the ending – it is a bit Hollywood. It is one of those films that takes you a week or two to recover from. [Laughs]
17. Black and white, or colour?
18. The title of my first book of photographs will be:
We’ve All Seen Tomorrow.
19. Five words that encapsulate you, now, here, April 15, 2010:
Impulsive, uninhibited, uneasy, colourful, raw.
20. Finish this sentence. “Lazily paging through the magazine, Natasja Fourie paused on
a picture of the large saltpan
I wish we can take off our clothes, jump over the fence and take some photographs there.”
CV and stuff:
Born: February 7, 1986
Indoctrination camp: Stellenbosch of Academy of Design 2004-05
Paperwork: Diploma in Visual Communication
Current domicile: Cape Town
Published pics: GQ (SA), Mirage (Germany), Nylon (USA), Vice (UK & SA) – “my bread ‘n butter work is tear sheets for the modelling industry.”