Waving the flag for female empowerment with her collaborative zine teenVag, Natasha Nuñez is a promising photographer based in New York, getting out there and doing it for herself on her own terms. Her work offers viewers an insightful look at feminine ideals and the female gaze, which is further authenticated because Nuñez, in reality, is just a young woman sharing her own perspective on the world as she navigates her way through it. Her maverick approach to photography, first cultivated after some friendly encouragement to pick up a camera and start shooting, has fed through in her approach to setting up teenVag and creating the kind of sisterhood, photography collective that even the fellas would like to join! Dazed tracked the photographer down to chat about what she plans to do next…
Dazed Digital: Please introduce yourself in a sentence?
Natasha Nuñez: A sentence is too short of an introduction.
DD: How did you first get into photography?
Natasha Nuñez: About a year ago - I was interning at MILK Gallery. A good friend I had the pleasure of working with encouraged me to pick up the camera and start shooting after he came across a personal, inspirational photo blog I was working on titled “Pie in the Sky.”
DD: You recently launched teenVAG, a zine that is all about “the essence and beauty of girls being girls”? How did that idea come about and why was it important to have that kind of outlet for your work and the others like you?
Natasha Nuñez: Allison Levy - partner in crime and other half of teenVAG, and I, cultivated the project under the concept of girls creating their own ideal. teenVAG is a celebration of the feminine coming of age captured by female artists- the curated body of work denounces the many imposed thoughts on sexuality, womanhood, and even menstruation. We felt there was a sense of lacking as far as an outlet for these ideals to be shared in a more concrete form.
DD: Which photographers inspire you?
Natasha Nuñez: Currently, I am most inspired by the individuals I have come to meet in the past few years. The artists featured in the first issue of teenVAG are some of the most inspiring souls I have crossed paths with. Several of the artists have become close friends and it is always most inspirational to watch them grow creatively- there’s a certain humility within their work that inspires both my work and I.
DD: What equipment do you use to shoot and why?
Natasha Nuñez: When shooting personal projects, I use my mother’s old 35mm Minolta Maxxum 7000. Shooting the subject seems much more uninhibited and genuine. There’s also an instant parallel liking knowing it belonged to my mom. I also use a Nikon 35mm point and shoot and occasionally a Nikon digital SLR.
DD: How would you describe your photography style in a sentence?
Natasha Nuñez: My photography is a personal, unstudied, unadulterated page of my memory’s index.
DD: So what up and coming projects are you working on?
Natasha Nuñez: I was recently asked to be a contributor for Milk MADE. At the moment, I’m working on a piece titled “ShopGirl.” The column features a shop girl from many of the creative retail environments found in New York- filmakers, designers, artists, musicians. In the coming weeks Allison and I will also start the conceptualization and curation of teenVAG Issue #2. The second issue will extend past the medium of photography - artists send work to firstname.lastname@example.org.