Natalie Krick’s series of portraits of both herself and her mother take their name from a brand of artificial press-on French nail tips. It’s a way for the photographer to introduce the viewer to images that deal with femininity, portraiture, popular culture, and superficiality that she titled “Natural Deceptions.”
As a teenager, Krick would dress up and photograph both herself and her cousin with a point-and-shoot camera in an attempt to emulate women she saw on television and in magazines. “I obsessed over those envelopes of small glossy prints,” Krick wrote via email about the images she created. “But now they are so revealing of our fantasy and failed attempts to emulate [pop stars].”
Drawing influence from Diane Arbus and the films of David Lynch and Pedro Almodóvar, as well as vintage Playboy magazines, Krick started photographing women dressed in somewhat garish outfits and poses that dealt with her conflicting views about the hypersexualized marketing of women in popular culture. Eventually, she turned the camera on her mother, having her recreate the same poses.
“I found the images to be much more complicated because of our relationship and her age,” Krick said about using her mother as a model. “In the pictures, I often see myself in her, and I am intrigued by the blurring of our identities. It is important to me to make work that is both personal and comments on the culture that I live in.”
Part of that idea is based in “Natural Deceptions” and how the culture in America treats both women and the aging process. Krick examines this by using bright, outrageous colors, which she says attract the viewer. She also incorporates a “harsh” flash to emphasize superficiality and the façade of glamour. “The harsh, unforgiving burst of light allows for scrutiny, and it highlights the corporeality of the body while also recalling the aesthetic of amateur snapshots. The flash is loaded with deceptive implications, spontaneity included,” she said.
Since she began showing the work, Krick says reactions have been all over the place. “Some people see complexity, and some people just see flaws and bad photography. There’s something about doing things ‘wrong’ that gets people all worked up, especially if you are a woman,” she said.