Freelance photographer Natasha Palmer got her start on Instagram, but now, 44,000 followers later, she’s looking to develop her craft and turn it into a full-time career.
“One of my biggest goals is to get my work published because really any photographer can post their images online, but not everyone can get published. I’d love to see my work on the cover of a book or album. I think that would be a really surreal moment.”
Palmer, better known online as “Tasha Marie,” has achieved a sort of fame on social media. She first discovered her own potential when one of her photos of a sunflower field blew up on Tumblr.
“People started reblogging it a lot so that one got pretty popular and I noticed people would steal it and post it on other places online. That was the first time I was like ‘wow this is really cool, people are actually noticing my stuff!’”
Of course, now, Palmer is used to this kind of attention. She has her own website along with many social media accounts where she showcases her photos.
The 24-year-old first started posting her work on Flickr, then from there she posted to Tumblr, Facebook and eventually to Instagram. So far, Palmer has found that her Instagram is hermost interactive and well-known account.
“I think Instagram is an amazing place to showcase your work, but more importantly to meet people who are interested in the same things as you. I’ve met so many amazing photographers through this app and some are still my close friends today.”
Palmer seems to have reached her peak, but the young photographer has bigger goals sight. In 2015, Palmer took the next step in her photography career and started attending the Alberta College for Art and Design (ACAD) in Calgary.
Palmer explains how influential her classes have been as they’ve given her room to grow.
“Online where I first started posting my images, people wouldn't really critique me at all. They were always giving me really positive feedback, which was great, it helped with my confidence, but it didn't really help with my photography,” explains Palmer.
“So when I started going to school, we did critiques and having someone's feedback in a constructive way definitely helped me see the flaws in my images. That way, I could actually start to improve.”
Even though Palmer’s Instagram mostly showcases her landscape photos, she has always had an interest in combining conceptual images and portraiture. Her favourite program for editing her work is Adobe Photoshop, and at ACAD she has been able to advance her skills.
“I was self-taught in Photoshop until two years ago when I started my Photoshop class with my professor Cathy Simone. She really opened my eyes to the possibilities of Photoshop and how much you’re capable with it.”
Cathy Simone began teaching at ACAD in 2006 and describes her class as one that “celebrates Photoshop and it's relationship between photography, process, print and presentation, as they are all equally important to each other.”
Simone explains how photography has become increasingly difficult to get into with this day and age.
“Photography has become more competitive than ever as technology, accessibility, and social media connections reach a grand and global scale,” she says. “With this modern trend, it has become even more important for today's student to focus on developing a strong skill set that will compliment communication, craftsmanship and creativity.”
But, Simone is not worried for Palmer and believes her raw talent will carry her to where she needs to be.
“Tasha's photographs express her passion and respect for the art of Photoshop and the extraordinary possibilities of imagination,” explains Simone.
“Conceptually, she tells stories of magic and wonder, each with their own unique powerful narrative. Technically, her projects are fantastic – layers upon layers of creativity, colour, light, diligence and patience.”
With her education, Palmer is hoping to push past the Instagram and social media scene and become a real, professional photographer. Though Instagram has been a good start for her, it’s not where she wants to end.
“I don’t think the number of followers someone has online accurately shows if they’re talented or not, so I try not to let it go to my head. I want to be accepted in the photography industry and not be seen as another 'Instagram photographer',” says Palmer.
"I want to be accepted in the photography industry and not be seen as another 'Instagram photographer.'" - Natasha Palmer
She wants to get more into the commercial side of photography; so being paid to do something that will be used in a magazine or on a book cover rather than doing casual photoshoots with people she knows.
Though Palmer realizes that breaking into the professional photography industry will be difficult, she remains motivated. Her excitement and drive for photography is something she'd never want to steer away from.
“I think my work is just me trying to capture the most beautiful parts of what's around us, so either landscapes or people. I just want to show everyone that life isn't always super mundane. It can be exciting.”
- By Nikita Lehnert-Thiel