Natalie Arriola Photography



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Growing up I was very much a loner. My mother experienced some serious social traumas in the early years of her schooling which she has never really recovered from. This instilled in her an intense distrust and fear of people.

Her fears became my fears and I withdrew into myself adopting her misgivings. At the same time I craved attention and loved performing arts like dance, gymnastics, and singing.

As I grew older I gave up on pursuing these or any other interests and detached myself more and more from the world around me. I felt a deep sense of emptiness and disconnection. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted and I felt lost. I was always looking for someone else to help guide me, but I lacked any stable trust worthy role models.

In my early twenties I started drinking heavily after experiencing my first serious break up. I had no focused idea of where I was headed in life and lacked the self confidence to believe that any path I took would lead to anything other than disappointment.

Years went by like this and all the while my drinking grew worse until it was so bad I feared for my life.

I finally came to a point of surrender. Drinking had become my life and the activities of each day revolved solely around my pursuit of alcohol. I had accepted that I would never accomplish anything other than living day in and day out as an alcoholic for the rest of my miserable days until my untimely and likely unpleasant death. As Elliott Smith said of drug addiction (hint: alcohol IS a drug), “ Pretty soon you'll find it's the only / Little part of your life you're keeping together.”

It was in this place of total surrender to the reality of my addiction that I was finally able to free myself from it.

I am now 2 years sober. Contrary to my early naïve hopes, I have not magically transformed my life into everything I ever wanted in this short time.

What I have done is begin to learn how to cope with reality on reality’s terms. I have developed a love for yoga which has opened my mind to the power of perception and the stories we tell ourselves. This has allowed me to see my negative thought patterns as the destructive force that they are and actively take steps to redirect them.

I have learned the true meaning of gratitude and begun to see how my perception of reality literally creates my world. Where once I saw only the barren, fruitless abyss of my own disordered consciousness, I now see goodness, opportunity, abundance, and love.

I have brought new beautiful and encouraging people into my life and I have rediscovered and reinvigorated my love for art, nature, and especially photography.

My photographic practice has grown 10 fold in the last 2 years where it had remained stagnant previously. I am discovering and rediscovering my love for life and my ability to shape who I am.

I was always searching for someone to tell me who I was, but now I am deciding who I want to be and finding the strength within myself to be my own compass.

I am a work in progress and I am learning the power of embracing the failures which come with every step of my journey.

I have seen the darkest and ugliest parts of my soul and now I am ready to receive the light.

My photography is an expression of everything that I am and have been. It is also a testament to the lives which have intersected with mine in the making of my work and in my daily life, reading, and studies.

If like me you have been broken, shattered, and torn you will find yourself in this work. If you have been outcast by yourself and others; if you have been touched, inspired, and wrecked by the depths of your own soul; if you have experienced the sublime feeling you get when you see yourself reflected in the art you love, you will find yourself here.

I am here to inspire and be inspired through the darkest nights and the dullest days until together we are reminded of that magnificent and fleeting spark that makes it all worthwhile.

I have a newsletter where I mostly wax philosophical about everything from movies to art to keeping your head screwed on straight while attempting to somehow relate it all back to photography.

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