Natalie Christensen

Making a Way

Making A Way | Perspective
Artists: Kamari Carter, Natalie Christensen, Skye Gilkerson, Chloe Ilene, Stacy Isenbarger

Natalie Christensen: On her work
Natalie Christensesn: How Coronavirus has affected her practice

Shadows and psychological metaphors are favored photographic subjects for me. My work as a psychotherapist for over 25 years called upon me to explore what is hidden from view, those aspects of the self or the environment that we want to turn away from or simply avoid. I was particularly influenced by the work of depth psychologist Carl Jung and his exploration of the unconscious.

My interest is in investigating the more banal peripheral landscapes that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. The places I frequent for my images are probably not what people visualize when they think of the city I live in, Santa Fe, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. I choose to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting. Closed and open doors, empty parking lots and forgotten swimming pools draw me into a scene; yet it is my reactions to these objects and spaces that elicit interpretation and projection. This is exciting and challenging for me, to “see” something hiding in plain sight. The symbols and spaces in my images are an invitation to explore a rich world concealed from consciousness and an enticement to contemplate narratives that have no remarkable life yet tap into something deeply familiar to our experience; often disturbing, sometimes amusing…unquestionably present.

In Santa Fe, my work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. I shoot every day and am almost never without my camera. I do not have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks. I dismantle these scenes, distilled down to color fields, geometry and shadow.

It is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.

Santa Fe, New Mexico photographer Natalie Christensen’s enchanting focus is on banal peripheral settings. Influenced by 25 years as a psychotherapist, her photos favor psychological metaphors. She deconstructs to color fields, geometry and shadow. “Sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places.”

Christensen has exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, and recently was a guest of the United Arab Emirates Embassy on a UAE cultural tour. She led photography workshops at The Royal Photographic Society, London and Meow Wolf, Santa Fe and participated in site-specific projects in the U.S and U.K.

The recipient of several prestigious photography awards, Christensen’s work is in the permanent collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana and the University of Texas, Tyler. Her photography has been featured in noted fine art publications.
Instagram: @natalie_santafe