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Through photography, I aim to inspire people to see and experience the world beyond themselves and the familiar, in hopes of generating more empathy to other cultures. To realize how alike we are at the end of the day as humans.
We went to Topanga Canyon, CA to talk to photographer Natasha Lee about creating rituals and keeping skin radiant on the road with Hydrate + Restore Rich Cream. Read on to see the world through Natasha’s lens.
Natasha Lee has an eye for beauty. As a travel, food, and lifestyle photographer, it’s her job to find it.
She travels to places so beautiful it almost seems the work is done for her: Tahiti, Thailand, Indonesia. When you see her photos, however – with their visceral, intimate qualities – it’s clear she’s captured something the rest of us might miss.
“Travel has taught me that beauty comes in all forms,” Natasha says. “There’s an intangible quality about it that goes beyond words and descriptions. It’s something you can feel, like a magically unexpected connection or a place that speaks to you.”
For Natasha, there’s a larger goal in sharing that magic with us. “Through photography, I aim to inspire people to see and experience the world beyond themselves and the familiar, in hopes of generating more empathy to other cultures. To realize how alike we are at the end of the day as humans.”
Natasha spends about 40% of her time traveling. Through her work, she’s traveled to dozens of countries and collaborated with countless people. “There’s that radiance some people have, and you realize – not to sound cliché – that that’s what is beautiful.”
As with many of us, it’s taken some time for her to come into her own radiance. “Over the years, through getting older and having done a lot of inner work, I’ve finally started to truly feel comfortable in my own skin,” Natasha says.
“It happens to intersect at a period where time is a luxury, so most days I’m pretty bare-faced and my skin is what I’m showing to the world. It’s just me as I am. There’s not a whole lot hiding any real or perceived ‘flaws,’ so the better care I take of my skin, the better I feel about myself.”
On top of the travel shoots, family life, and early call times, Natasha has two boys, aged 3.5 and eight months. To stay centered through it all, Natasha has created rituals she returns to at home and on the road. She journals, meditates, and writes a daily gratitude list. Of course, busy days can get in the way of these practices, but she does her best to begin her days with mindfulness.
“I rarely get to start my day the way the ideal way in my head. But at the bare minimum, I always just take some deep breaths, try to slow down my mind, and have some hot jasmine or green tea.”
Travel can take a toll on the skin, with dry airplane air, changing climates, and unfamiliar foods. “I care about my skincare regimen even more when I’m traveling,” Natasha says. In the mornings, she prepares her skin to take on the elements with Revitalizing Hydrogel Moisturizer. “What I like about the Hydrogel is that it’s very compact. You can throw it in your bag during the daytime, whether you’re traveling or not. You can use it all the time – wherever and whenever.”
When she does have the time and space, she likes to do Morning Pages, three pages of stream of consciousness writing prescribed by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. “Morning Pages always bring so much clarity.” She then does a quick gratitude list. “I love how it immediately starts the day off on a positive note.”
Natasha has a lot to be grateful for. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast Traveler, and on the cover of Hemispheres. “I’m super happy when I deliver files and get great feedback, or when an email pops up in my inbox from a client on my ‘dream list.'”
Natasha grew up in Penang, Malaysia before relocating to the Bay Area when she was nine. She moved to LA for art school and spent a short stint in New York before learning she’s “more of a West Coast gal.” She started her career working in commercials and music videos and “completely fell in love with the world of production, being on set, and the team camaraderie.”
She worked her way into art direction, but kept shooting on the side. Eventually, she decided to make the transition to full-time photographer. “It was a struggle for sure, but I feel that my background has become a great complement to the photo skill set, especially with creatives wearing multiple hats now.”
It seems that she made the right choice – photography still brings her joy. She loves when she connects with her subjects on a deep level, or has a great conversation with an incredible collaborator. Perhaps most of all, she loves “when I click the shutter and know in my gut that it’s going to be the shot.”
And then there’s the joy of travel. “Travel has a way of breaking us out of our day-to-day and opening us up to new sights, tastes, and lessons. From those visceral, sensory experiences, we form connections with people we may not otherwise meet and we shift our perspectives. We learn more about ourselves by pushing our own boundaries and finding out what we’re truly capable of.”
After a day of boundary-pushing, she turns inward again. Meditation is one of her go-to rituals. “It’s when looking externally that things seem to go awry. As a creative trying to forge my own path, I’m at my most stressed and anxious and unkind to myself when comparing my journey to others and seeking validation.”
“I’m slowly learning to be aware when I start going down that rabbit hole and to stop, pause, reframe the focus on my own goals and actions, send gratitude for the place I’m in. It’s an ongoing process and definitely much, much easier said than done!”
Once she’s closed out her day, she gets ready for bed. “I physically wash away the day and put on my Hydrate + Restore Rich Cream. Putting Rich Cream on my face before I go to sleep definitely has a luxurious feeling to it. I love waking up knowing my skin has absorbed so much restorative goodness and nourishment while I’m resting.”
In her fast-paced world of hotel rooms, time zones, and transport, Natasha makes time to return to herself. From this place of balance, her empathy shines through. Her photography transports us.
“Everything really does stem from within. We have the answers we’re looking for, if we pay attention and look in the right places.”
Do you have questions? Comments? Topics you want us to cover? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.