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Meet Natascha Dea of Natascha Dea in Portage Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natascha Dea.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Natascha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a fashion, portrait, and fine art photographer from New York City & Los Angeles. I moved to Chicago from LA a little over a year ago with my family to be close to my Mother-in-Law who has Dementia. Our lives have been filled with an unexpected domesticity the last few years — as we balance elder care with miscarriages and infertility treatments in our attempt to have a baby.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. We’ve struggled to have a baby for almost 5 years and over that time we’ve had 5 miscarriages and I’ve undergone 8 rounds of infertility treatments. Infertility treatments are difficult.

The constant addition and subtraction of hormones play with your body, mind, and emotions, and I have found it very difficult to create art and maintain creative practice in the midst of these changes. I started making photographs of our infertility journey and day-to-day along the way because if I wasn’t able to focus on making my work, at least I could document my days.

Natascha Dea – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My work, my passion, has always been in exploring female sexuality and strength through photography. I mostly shoot in black and white and my work has been described as expressionist, sensual, and provocative. With the infertility treatments, I found myself in such a weird new place… a domestic limbo that felt wildly out of place with my art.

Going through infertility treatments has shown me that more awareness about infertility is needed; the best way for me to raise awareness is to share my experience. I do that through photography. My book “Waiting” is a look at my daily life through the infertility lens. “Waiting” is being published by FortyTwo Women Press and hits bookstores on April 24th.

I have realized through this experience that my artistic passion has really been about honoring women’s stories and experiences and shining light on those things that are still considered taboo. In this sense, “Waiting” is a natural extension of my previous work.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’ve had a lot of happy moments in my work; I’ve been honored to work with some amazing, incredibly talented artists, both female and male.

And there is nothing quite like seeing a woman who says she doesn’t feel powerful and beautiful see herself as her powerful, beautiful self through my lens. But I think the proudest moment I’ve had in my career is finding my creative feet over the last couple of years. There is this societal notion that work is a 9 to 5 thing and when you are at work you are at work and when you are at home you are home.

But for most people, that is a fallacy. Women are trained to believe that you must be one way at work and keep those things related to your personal life at home. Even women artists… the stereotype that artists live a bohemian life free of societal constraints isn’t applied as freely to women artists. And so I struggled with how much to share about the current shape of my life, how much of my current work to show, and even how to reconcile the domesticity of my current work and experience with the sensuality of my previous work and experience.

I’ve come to the realization that I do not have to reconcile it – women are so much more than the limited facades society shows. I’m not just interested in those things society most considers taboo about women—those intersections of the taboo are where I belong, as an artist, photographer, writer, business owner, and woman. My book “Waiting,” a monograph of photographs I made during two rounds of IVF, was born from this realization. The Neshama Collective, a year-long creative workshop and gathering space I have founded for women-identified artists battling infertility and infertility treatments, was born from this realization.

I now understand that my passion for women’s stories is greater than I previously thought and that I have a responsibility to share them. My creative direction is expanding; I’m continuing to make my own photographs and art while also moving into publishing and film production. My desire is to help women artists birth their own stories. There has been a lot of creative and professional growth for me while family building. That is my proudest moment to date.

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