Natalie Ord Manifeasto Photography
I fell in love with the region in 1997 when I packed my bags in Sydney and drove down the Hume to go to uni. I had never been to the region before so I took a bit of a gamble committing to study here sight unseen! The first thing I noticed was the friendliness of the people. The shop keepers would say hello and have a bit of a chat and even people walking along the street would look you in the eye and g’day. Over the next few years I explored the area and was enchanted with the natural & historical features. Even 17 years later I’m still captivated…still exploring & discovering!
What do you love most about living and working here?
I love the variety of natural landscapes in the region and the connectedness of community. I love that I can be on the plains & river flats then have the mountains only a short drive away. This is important for my photography but is also nice for escaping. I love the connection of the community- to each other and the land. It makes for great stories when you can speak with someone who has knowledge and networks to draw on and it makes for great stories! This always gives me more depth to my photography work and inspires ideas.
A Murray Experience
How did you come to be an artist practicing in the Murray area?
Originally from Sydney I moved to the region to study Environmental Management & Ecology at La Trobe. I worked in the natural resource management industry for 15 years before I decided to pursue photography fulltime. You wouldn't think it, but working in the industry actually helped me develop my creativeness by learning and understanding the landscapes, flora and fauna and how the people interact with the environment. Observing these interactions almost forced me to try and capture them. Photography was the most suitable medium for me to try and do this.
In addition to working in the NRM industry I've worked in the performing arts for 7 years. I took at casual role at HotHouse Theatre and later at WPAC where my intrigue and passion for arts was magnified. These experiences encouraged me to pursue my artistic career.
Does our region find itself into your artwork? How?
Absolutely! I have a number of pieces where derelict buildings are featured in my work. Some are well-known in the region like the old flour mill at Milawa-Oxley and others are hidden down back roads to nowhere. I also have a lot of abstract natural images of snow gums on Mt Buffalo and the granite rocks of Beechworth.
The Art Life
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a project that will capture my town, Chiltern, as I know it. I've been here nearly ten years but spent a lot of my time in Albury-Wodonga for work and not much time in Chiltern. Now that is Chiltern is my home and work, I'm seeing it in a new light and meeting more people. There's a strong community spirit here and a lot of characters too. I want to capture the people as well as the amazing heritage listed buildings.
What themes do you explore in your art?
It really depends of the subject. A lot of my images are described as emotive and real and sometimes even melancholy. I try to capture and convey emotion- whether that be happy or moody & evocative or anywhere in between!
What is your dream project?
I’m not sure what my dream project is at the moment. That is what partly keeps me motivated- chasing that idea /theme/subject. I know that when I first started in photography I only shot environmental images, but as I grow as a photographer and get older, I’m more and more captivated by people- their stories, experience, their world. I’d love to be travelling around discovering people in different & unique landscapes. The one thing I took away from NRM career is that everyone has a story. I know it’s almost cliché, but there are some really interesting people in the region- some that have done amazing, almost unbelievable things and some people that have just fought to stay alive. It’s inspiring and beautiful and unfortunately sometimes taken for granted.