Photographer Natacha Tao Dao goes for a swim with the sublime.
Natacha, what are we looking at in these images?
Movement, vibration, energy points, weightlessness, levitation…or just bodies in the water at night?
They resemble paintings more than photographs. Have they been digitally altered?
Yes, because I’m a painter. My look became a painter’s look. I use brushes but also my camera, which involves my recollection of paintings and everything around me. It’s a medium of all my pictorial, sensory and sensitive memory to each present moment. The camera allows me to be very spontaneous. The prints themselves are not altered. I adjust colours and brightness as we used to before with negative silver. I now use the computer instead of my dark laboratory in the bathroom.
What do these images say to you?
I think of the first photographs when photographers were seeking moments of pause. Then they were interested in the decomposition of movement. At that point photography was offering a new land of investigation for painters, sculptors, scientists, doctors…
How many shots did you take to get the frames you wanted?
Many. I started the first series in the new year of 2007 in Sanur and I’m still continuing it to this day.
Where are you from, and how long have you been taking photographs?
I was born in Paris and I studied technical photography there. Then I went to art school to expand my practice of painting. So I’ve been taking photographs for about 20 years.
Someone told us you drive a taxi in Paris?
Kind of…I used to do the common job of Balinese people. I was a tour guide, showing Paris to tourists from all over the world. I enjoyed driving early morning and late at night in Paris when there was no traffic. Nobody around, empty van, windows open, listening to jazz music, singing sometimes, smoking cigarettes, crossing bridges and enjoying the sights and lights of Paris. I’m currently working in an art gallery.
Is Bali an inspiration for the work? What else inspires you?
Totally. Bali inspires me for colours, light and humanity.
What’s the difference between art and photography, do you think?
I believe that art has no limit and can be produced with all kinds of media. I think contemporary art is an exploration of those limits. Art becomes art when the senses and reflection are involved.
What camera do you use? And what software?
I always have my Lumix LX3 in my bag and I use a Canon 30D for more specific work, but I’m not very fond of it – it’s too heavy! Photoshop for the retouch.
Are these images for sale?
Yes, and I would love to have an exhibition somewhere in Bali, so that I could print them on a large scale.
Well, maybe someone will take you up on that. Where can we see more of your work?
Good luck Natacha, and many thanks for your time.
Thanks to you too, I am very glad to show these photo-graphs in The Yak Magazine. Thanks for your support.