Natalia

Photographer. Bed-Stuy.


Natalia Mantini, is a self taught photographer based in New York City.
Often turning her focus onto women, her work materializes as a great praise
to the female form and its emotional complexities. When not photographing, she enjoys reading about astrology, watching true crime, and making candles. Her work has been featured in various publications including VICE, BullettS Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Billboard. Natalia is from Redondo Beach, CA and she moved to NYC 2 years ago.

 

Top, Adidas ; Jeans, Levi's ; Jacket, Schott x MadeMe ; Shoes, Topshop

Jumpsuit, ASOS

Jumpsuit, ASOS

I started taking photos mainly of my friends and going to shows growing up. I’ve always focused on the women in my life and would take photos of them without thinking anything of it- they’re beautiful so it was common sense for me to photograph them. I felt it was important to capture what my friends were doing so we’d have it later on. I’m not really sure why. I got more serious about it after I got sober and found that it gave me a feeling of fulfillment, so I continued to explore and invest in myself. There wasn’t much of a defining moment as its been an ongoing process for me.

Top, Vintage ; Pants, American Apparel

I meditate in the morning before I look at my phone or get out of bed. I usually make tea and write a little to clear my head. Then I get into dealing with life type stuff- checking emails and returning texts.
I love film, it’s better than digital and always will be (in my opinion). It looks so much more genuine and gives me more feeling than a digital camera ever could, I shoot digital as well and probably as much as film. But when I can, I go to my Contax and Polaroid.

Natalia's gear

Natalia's gear

A lot of my inspiration comes from film stills and the 1960s and 1970s. I love long hair, the female form, awkward phases, youth, and sadness. I usually am inspired by the subject I want to shoot. I’ll know what and how I want to shoot them when I see them and it flows. I look to some images for inspiration or pull shots I like from the Internet but usually the best work comes from me just doing what I feel like doing in the moment with no reference or expectations.
Top & Skirt, American Apparel

Top & Skirt, American Apparel

Ellen Von Unwerth (who I deeply admire) said “I think that women open up more to a female photographer. It’s like little girls playing around.” That’s the vibe I feel when I’m shooting. Very intimate and relaxed and genuine.
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Natalia's favorite books

I heard about Catching the Big Fish and was told that this book explains how David Lynch can connect to and execute his best ideas. So obviously I was like I need that in my life immediately. The book explains the state that meditation will bring you to which positively impacts your work and more importantly your life. After reading the book I looked into what type of meditation Lynch practices and found out where to take courses in New York. I don’t do it perfectly everyday but meditation helps me drastically regardless. It kind of reminds you that not everything your head comes up with needs your attention or is true. Because I have less bullshit in my head- or listen to the bullshit less- I have more room for positive and proactive thoughts which turns into more work and a happier life. I’m always interested in what people do to better their lives and become the most useful version of themselves.

Top, Vintage ; Pants, American Apparel ; Shoes, Dr. Martens

My aesthetic is pretty minimal. I love black and grey. I keep it simple. I shop at Asos, American Apparel, Zara, and Uniqlo most. I love pocket tees and tailored jeans. Mostly I wear vintage levis tailored to my shape and a couple pairs of trousers. I have an awesome pair from Reformation. I’d rather have a couple simple great pieces than a bunch of stuff I sometimes wear. I’m really big on getting rid of the old. Whatever the opposite of a hoarder is- that’s me.

Natalia's favorite skincare products

I aim to keep whatever I use or eat as simple and natural as possible. If I can pronounce it I’ll probably use it. I use Aztec Secret Indian Healing Bentonite Clay once a week. I wash with a mixture of Cetaphil and Kiehls. I use avocado oil to moisturize my face and almond oil for body. I just got Glossier’s priming moisturizer and am into it.

Natalia's haircare routine

Top, Vintage ; Pants, American Apparel

Top, Vintage ; Pants, American Apparel

I keratin my hair every few months to tame it. I’m Mexican and Italian so I have an insane amount to deal with. I want it long but more importantly, healthy, so I don’t use any heat on it as I learned thats pretty much the worst thing you can do to your hair. I only use Pureology because its sulfate free. I use a DevaCurl hair mask once a week. My Mason Pearson brush has changed my life. I am very mindful of caring for my hair, its my power and I want the Cher vibes.

Natalia's favorite makeup

I’m really minimal with makeup. I’d rather just focus on maintaining and caring for my skin and little else than put on a bunch of product and layers. I feel like I can’t breathe in much makeup. I also don’t have the patience. But I definitely fill in my eyebrows (with Anastasia) because I was a little chola- esque back in the day and now I have to deal with it.
Top & Skirt, American Apaprel

Top & Skirt, American Apaprel

Don’t expect to be famous/ hired/ validated immediately just because the Internet is making that a possibility and fucking with people’s heads and esteem. Keep doing what you’re doing because it makes you happy and you’d do it even if clients, money, and Instagram didn’t exist. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else because that will just set you back. You’re not anyone else so use that to your advantage and shape your own look and path. It’s great to look at people’s work that inspires and motivates you but people beat themselves up too easily these days and I think that will get in the way of making anything genuine. Don’t be a brat. Learn from people who have been working longer and harder than you (because a lot of people have been) and stay positive. Take action and don’t expect anything to come to you. Be nice and humble. Be really mindful of what you look at and fill your time with.

Natalia's Wishlist


Natalia Recommends

I love going to Enchantments for candles, incense, and stones.

My favorite spot to eat right now is Masala Wala in the LES.They’re so friendly and the food is epic. The owner hugs me and my boyfriend when we come and says he loves us and I almost cry.

 I go to Civil Service Cafe in Bedstuy for my tea and coffee. 

 

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