Through the Lens with Natalie Karpushenko

If you had to put words to your imagery what is the story you wish to convey?

Photography is my way of telling love stories. Some pictures show a love story between humans and nature, others between women and women, humans and animals, and of course, the love story about our relationship to water, which is where we all came from.

In my works, I strive to capture a feeling that viewers can connect with. I hope they can see themselves as part of the love story. When we think, act and live from a place of love, we are able to coexist, make conscious choices, and experience the most beautiful version of ourselves, others, and the world around us. That is the story I am inspired to illustrate…to show that it is possible for everyone.

How do you define beauty and what does it do for you?

I like this phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I believe we can see beauty in every thing – in an empty room, in black snow, in a wilting flower, and in every human, animal, and landscape. Beauty is also just being natural – natural love, emotions, smiles, humans. Raw beauty is the most powerful and it’s only visible in natural states of being.

I cannot live without beauty. It keeps me inspired to create and connect and explore. It gives me joy and helps me share joy too. It also helps me create homes wherever I go. As long as I can connect with the beauty of a place or people, I feel a sense of belonging and home.

What does your creative process entail?

Usually, my ideas start inside my mind. Sometimes I can draw what I want to create and I use that as a blueprint. Other times I can see something, like a person or place, and be inspired in the moment. When that happens I can often see the picture already captured in my mind. Other times, I allow myself to flow with my surroundings and find surprises in what I shoot.

My photography process can entail hours of shooting, especially when I’m underwater. Because I work with natural elements, I have to give up some control. But, when I get that image in my mind, I do everything I can to capture it in reality.

Everyone once in a while everything will fall into place – the lighting, the composition, the feeling… and as any artist knows, that’s when we get to experience magic and connect with something bigger than ourselves.

As a dedicated visual storyteller that has carved out your own way, what has been required of this pathway of yours? What adversity have you overcome?

I began traveling and professionally taking photos is trips when I was 20 years old. I learned quickly that when you move to a new country you won’t have clients in the beginning, and therefore resources to fulfill your vision will be limited. You need 6 months to one year to build the client base around you – then connections and financials start serving your art path again. 

Two years ago, Bali was my transit point on the way to the whales' expedition when the world started to change. At the moment I decided to stay here, I had no money and I didn’t know anyone. But, when you are doing something with love and with passion people will find you and the work will come. I have learned a lot about accepting changes, patience, perseverance, and listening to my intuition. The most important thing is to keep creating and putting yourself out there. That is the only way eyes will see what you are doing.

Please share your vision for our global future?

I am an optimist. I believe that kindness always wins. I believe that light always wins. Right now, I think many people are awakening. People are noticing what they’re eating, how they’re treating the planet, and how healing is vital for creating peace and protecting what’s important. I also see people coming back to nature and that makes me hopeful.

I see artists and creatives as change-makers who will forge and lead our future. And I believe that art is the key to seeing things differently, changing, healing, growing, and ultimately choosing to do what’s right for our planet and the people on it.

Images and words by Natalie Karpushenko @karpushenko_gallery @nataliekarpushenko 

Model: Abuk Alfadel @darker_abuk