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Natasja Fourie

Natasja’s Diary

by 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?

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?

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?

Taxi Violence

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

and thought

I wish we can take off our clothes, jump over the fence and take some photographs there.”

CV and stuff:

Born: February 7, 1986
Where: Paarl
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.”
Awards: Pending

32   16
  1. Jussus says:

    …just goes to show, shit sells and people will buy anything.

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  2. goodness me, people says:

    “ANDREW Brink”? Seriously?

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  3. uh oh says:

    tear shoots?

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  4. JB says:

    Good stuff : )

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  5. bottom of the sea says:

    Shit sells? You don’t know talent and hard work when you see it…
    Nice interview sharing some insight into the personality behind the work- looking forward to seeing how Fourie’s work develops.

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  6. gratitude says:

    I’m a happily married man, and if it weren’t for Natasja I wouldn’t have seen half of the Cape Town indie-boobs that I’m now au fait with. And for that, I am grateful.

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  7. music vids says:

    let us not forget the videos – VCK, taxi violence et al.

    this girl is a serious overachiever and I’m guessing that the naysayers are a bunch of aging lensmen jealous of her having accomplished more than them. (HENDRIK!)

    she’s the best, you other guys are the rest.

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  8. Niel B says:

    Seriously, this is amazing stuff. Fucking amazing.

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  9. Anonymous says:


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  10. get the fuck up says:

    Everybody knows this is nowhere.

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  11. Xandi says:

    @goodness me.You’re right. It is: Andre P. Brink. It is fixed now.

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  12. Stumpy says:

    Nowhere is a place too.

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  13. Anonymous says:


    Amen to that.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Henrik Purienne be thy name

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  15. sara says:

    What a fake: Daniel Pinchbeck wrote “breaking open the head” not McKenna. She’s obviously as dumb as she is monosyllabic

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  16. Xandi says:

    @uh oh. Tear shoot are tear sheets now. Thanks.

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  17. Andy says:

    Gratitude… indie boobs. Best comment on this thread

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  18. John Freeman says:

    Photography stars have been born from much much less than this. There are traces of many contemporary greats there: tillmans, richardson, etc.

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  19. Julian says:

    seen better….white skin

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  20. Julian says:

    Also why aren’t there any funny captions on these photos like on yr Willowvale piece?
    is it cos it are art? Whatever….. lame lame feel the pain.

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  21. John Freeman says:

    I love this stuff. Such a strong sense of style while keeping things light & playful still. Awesome.

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  22. Phil says:


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  23. Anonymous says:

    The main problem with this stuff, and similar work by Henrik ‘BERLIN’ Purienne and friends, is that the people responsible are Afrikaans. Everyone knows that Afrikaans people are pieces of shit.


    Don’t get me started on the fucking ‘music’.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    afrikaans people are pieces of shit? seriously? This is terrible, but stereotyping people like that counters your whole argument. Rather say something like: the two people in question are pieces of shit, but attacking a whole group of people based on the language they speak is beyond idiotic.
    no offense, other anonymous 🙂

    in my opinion photography is pretentious and so blatantly copied from the “inspiration” of the “photographer” that it is scary, but that is just my opinion.

    as I said earlier: meh.

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  25. Sarah Dee says:

    It’s pretty. She’s talented for sure. But every pic, I feel I’ve seen before. By someone else who did it better.

    See this for example: http://ryanmcginley.com/summer

    I so prefer to see young talent applying themselves to new ideas rather than trendiness.

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  26. state of exposure says:

    Fourie and McGinley might share similar emotional realities but they deal with it in different emotional languages. The story lines are unexceptional and universal, but these images do convey how we share our lives and bodies. There are no more private lives and no more private acts. We live in a time where we are all in a certain state of exposure.

    Most importantly it is crucial for Fourie to establish where she stands in relation to a growing tide of pornographic and voyeuristic imagery, aimed at a mostly male audience.

    But like Nan Goldin, Elinor Carucci and Tracey Emin, I think her work is treated with honesty regarding the depiction of the bodies, vulnerabilities and personalities of her subjects.

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  27. alberto says:

    terence mckenna didn’t write ‘breaking open the head’.
    are you actually reading it? at the moment?

    cool pics of south african white people looking like european white people, though.

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  28. wolfgang tillmans says:

    all these pictures look like stuff i did in the 90’s

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  29. Saliman die wit towenaar says:

    “But just who is Natasja Fourie?”

    Sean O’ Tool’s pomp perhaps?

    I’m always up for some sleazy soft core porn and much of the work here is pretty good. And yet I ask: Why?

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  30. suburban says:

    Lots of criticism, but this is a very honest and nicetoreadwhenyoushouldbeworking insight into the workings of a cape town trendist. s’true that lot may lack originality and desperately wish it were possible to pick up cape town village and plonk it in paris or berlin.
    only with sun.
    so the white skin can shine for photographers.

    i met terrence mckenna. he’s a fruitcake. drug-induced delusions should not be confused with insight.

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  31. Bcoop says:

    This is very Corinne Day (Google her) circa 90s. Intimate shots of friends, slightly erotic and grunge… nothing new but I like it.

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  32. random says:

    this is typical Capetown drivel: “Like, we’re being so real, but like, in art hey..” The whole Earth-children from suburbia-under-the-mountain routine, with a solid splash of acid.

    but nice breastesses…

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  33. sof ha-olam says:


    emo-boobs. this comment thread is wicked, and strangely but comfortably honest.

    Mr Mkenna though he didn’t write’ Breaking Open the Head’ sorry NatasKKKa, did write about self-transforming machine elves…Her powder pics, kind of remind me of what Mckenna must have seen when he took DMT … .Oh and I think Vice Mag must have loved this, because all girls in vice look like dead bird holding wounded ballerina’s.

    none the less we all need our affirmation, and the work is nice.

    Thanks for making me laugh commentators…

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  34. Warren says:

    fap fap fap fap fap

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  35. Wooof says:

    i love Natasja’s work – Very Classy!

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  36. MUGNAIART says:

    This is amazing work. Great model casting too.

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  37. Claire says:

    Striking pictures, especially the two girls on the beach.

    To those who don’t like it – explain why otherwise it’s pointless.

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  38. crayon says:

    i love you stumpy.

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  39. crayon says:

    also, everythings been done before. it can still good.

    Thanks sarah dee for explaining get the fuck up’s comment.

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  40. Sarah Dee says:

    I think the most profound problem of our generation is that we THINK that everything’s been done before.

    I believe in infinity.

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  41. wisedum says:

    hmm, some may be stylish, some nice retro polaroid use of washout colour and all, but hey, is stylish pics of okes in kak underwear, or am i just old?

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  42. Anti Alles says:

    Ag die jirre weet. julle knaters in knope!

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  43. Anonymous says:

    @ sarah dee: the problem isnt that this has been done before or not. it is that in this specific situation it has been done before…only better… 🙂

    @wisedum: kak underwear: hahahaha. so true…

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  44. ANONYMOUS 2 says:

    I think , well, I KNOW, her work will be loved more if she was a nicer person,
    and not such a vain bitch!

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  45. ANONYMOUS 3 says:

    Natasja is humble and approaches her work with an honest eye. Her reserved nature and sense of style is impossible to mistake for vanity.

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  46. mouse says:

    i agree, the work does not do much for me either, nothing I have not seen before.

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  47. anon says:

    so boring….

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  48. popskiet says:

    fucking hilarious

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  49. Anonymous says:

    A lot of people seem to think that art or photography is about the way things look, or the surface of things. That’s not what it’s about. It’s really about relationships and feelings… “They” don’t understand that it’s not about a style or a look or a setup. It’s about emotional obsession and empathy. I think Natasja’s work is clearly very emotional and tells a story, the story might not be for some of you therefor don’t criticize what you don’t understand.

    “The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.” Oscar Wilde

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  50. @ the last anonymous says:

    everyone is entitled to an opinion. especially if it is not the same as yours. criticism is good.

    “Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.”
    – Oscar Wilde


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  51. Anonymous says:

    luister jy wat praat van afrikaans mense – pasop pel jy sal kak. Moenie veralgemeenings maak nie. Dit is net laag. As jy nie van ons hou nie fok terug pommie land toe okay. Nou toe hou jy bek.

    Natasha die fotos is mooi


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  52. Anonymous says:

    In her own words – a butterfly disguised as a dragon – how pretentious!

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  56. Julian Whybra says:

    It seems to me that Natasja Fourie has made a mark, has achieved (thus far) a small piece of immortality through her work, and has done something positive as a result. I am sure her career will continue to prosper and she will create more beautiful and meaningful images.
    That not everyone (judging by some of the comments above) can appreciate the photographs’ beauty and meaning doesn’t surprise me (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is not a uniform given; deeper meaning may be beyond some people’s intellectual capacity). What does surprise me are the appalling personal and racist comments because Natasja is an Afrikaaner. Is that really a world they want to inhabit? Where have they been for the last 25 years?
    Judicious editing of these comments would not be censorship.
    Julian (white, male, English, atheist with a soft spot for Anglo-Saxon mythology)

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