We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Lacek and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Growing up I only had a few friends and was extremely shy and introverted. In my early middle school years, I would go outside and take pictures with the small iPod I had at the time. My parents got me a camera for my birthday when I was about twelve or thirteen. When I would show my family and friends the photos I was taking, they were always blown away. This made me feel so excited and I always wanted to take better pictures each time I went out to shoot. As I started to learn more about photography, I gradually upgraded cameras and kept working toward getting the gear I knew I wanted so I’d be able to make photographs that I loved. Throughout my teen years, I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression. This made it extremely hard for me to make friends, have a social life, or just do things that I love. I noticed that the only thing that made me feel better at the time was taking photos, I felt like I had no worries when shooting and I could just pour my emotions into my photographs. From then, I realized that I had an enormous passion for photography and wanted to do this as a career, so I decided to move to Pittsburgh and attend Point Park University for photography. I always loved the city, and I knew this would be a great place for me to start gaining experience. I took a studio photography course my freshman year and realized that I loved taking portraits in the studio. Now, I focus my practice on fashion and portraiture photography. Since starting my journey into the fashion photography community in Pittsburgh, I have made so many new friends and connections. I try to make the atmosphere extremely fun and comfortable for the models and clients who shoot with me. I put all of my energy and emotions into every single shoot that I do, and I hope I can help those who work with me leave the shoot with a more positive outlook on life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My photography practice is based around fashion and portraiture. It has been difficult networking and trying to get my name out into the world with my work, but thinking back to where I was just a year ago I have really come a long way. I try my hardest to work with as many clients as I can so I can meet more people and photograph new faces. Getting to know the models and stylists I work with makes the images more personal and unique to everyone’s individuality.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love going on long walks and visiting local parks. Living in a city can be overwhelming at times and I think some of my favorite time spent is outside with nature. If I was taking a friend around the city I would definitely start with visiting the parks nearby. As an artist, I also love visiting art museums. Taking small trips to museums is a great way to clear your mind and get some inspiration for projects. I would make sure we visit the best restaurants in the city. I follow a vegan diet and the city has so many amazing places for plant-based options to try out.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One person who has inspired me a lot throughout my journey within the fashion industry in Pittsburgh is Chi Ilochi, a Pittsburgh fashion stylist. Collaborating on shoots with her has been really amazing and empowering for me.
Model: Julia Kirby Styled by: Chi Ilochi, Model: Bella Diaz Styled by: Chi Ilochi, Model: Gabrielle Johnson, Rachel Ozegovich Styled by: Chi Ilochi