In conversation with Nadia von Scotti
In the process of creating a concept for the new Sustainable Avantgarde - manifesting in the new collections WATER, EARTH, FIRE and AIR - we were seeking a visual identity to underline our urge for balance between human and nature. Looking for a premium photographer with a sense and eye for the power and beauty of nature given elements. Because we at NEUBAU Eyewear believe in a holistic creation, where partners and contributors share similar visions and cultivate an empathic view on the world.
Nadia von Scotti is one of those rare visionaries with an eye for the strength and belle of our earth. She knows how to place people in these powerful natural phenomena, so modern humans yet again become one with their surroundings without affecting the ensemble as a disarranging contrast. Nadia's photographs adapt themselves to the cycle of earth, where different seasons and weather events reflect a genuine and blunt view of reality without having to be improved or changed by artificial influences. Strong colors play with the lighting conditions in the respective hemisphere and create vibrant, lively images that are characterized by a captivating honesty. We are more than happy to have her implement our visions for the WATER, EARTH, FIRE and AIR collections in a visual identity which is both - raw and soft, pure and full of energy, bold and fragile, premium and natural.
In our interview we asked Nadia about her passions, photography and relationship to nature.
Which of the 4 elements is your favorite?
I love them all but EARTH is my favorite - simply because I personally feel the most connected to mountains and forest. The pictures as well as the element are calm and strong, sensual but grounded - something that reflects me the most in my inner perception.
What do you like to photograph most?
Nature! I travel a lot on my own for great landscape pictures - mainly to places with mountains. Also for me it's not so much about the actual photo but about the journey or process to get there. Being part of the landscape experiencing the beauty of Mother Nature is the biggest gift for me. When I look at my landscape shots I often don't see what’s in the actual picture - I see what's left or right or even behind it because I remember myself being there, embracing the scenery.
Which picture from the shooting is your favorite?
Tell us something about yourself: How did you get into photography? What is your specialty?
That's a tough one... I'd say it's a blend between a general curiosity for all the wonders in life paired with a very hands on character trait.I never had a strong external guidance or something - I did not study photography or 'learned' it the classic way. I rather developed an interest and then very consistently followed that feeling with a strong learning by doing attitude. I always had to rely on myself and I always needed to work very hard to achieve what I wanted and this drive together with wonder is still what keeps me going today...
For me it's all about storytelling, movement and emotions. That's the essence of all my projects. Equally important is the ability to link and connect mentally with the people I work with - to understand quickly where they're coming from and what they like.
What does “Changing the perspective, changes the world” mean to you?
The future of this planet and human mankind is something we can actively work for by being able to understand our own role. We must not waste energy blaming the world, the politicians, the corporations, or the neighbor. We must not wait but understand the power of the self and the power of creation: the gift of the human mind to craft something out of nothing. We got the ability to visualize, to play with ideas and to condense these ideas into a concept that we can turn into reality, into meaning, into impact. And we need to start doing so by ourselves.
What inspires you?
On an emotional level: People who do things. Who go out of their comfort zones and create. There is nothing that triggers me more than wasted potential.People have the ability to do amazing things and I myself feel the most inspirational power when I see other people striving and blooming. It motivates me to do the same and use the limited time that I have in the most creative and fulfilling way.
On a visual level: I love mono colored landscapes, all mighty shapes of nature, mountains, clouds, saltpans...
On a mental level: The most creative I get is right before I sleep. When I am in bed I can think about an idea for hours. My eyes are closed but I can imagine a whole project, I like to think of it like a bedtime story. My favorite projects all got created at night right before I fall asleep. I don't like to look at mood pictures for that purpose - it limits my imagination and narrows down my possibilities. Only after an idea is born I would collect moods to underline my vision.
How has your way of working changed in times of Corona?
Learning to be more patient and complain less. I also had to acknowledge that I cannot plan everything in advance. Normally I travel a lot, now I adapt and focus on my local projects. I learned to stay active no matter the external circumstances - but also to be more flexible and soft with myself. I'm used to work or do a lot - I’m always on the go. I needed to accept that things move slower now and that this could involve more quality if I'm willing to adapt. Also I'm even more grateful for the people who put their trust in me and keep me busy.
What was special for you about the collaboration with NEUBAU and the campaign?
I personally think this was a very exciting project where we explored new frontiers in the photo and film production industry. Due to the Corona situation we had to plan and execute the shoot entirely remote with regular pre-production zoom meetings with NEUBAU, as well as agencies, etc. - that came with lots of interesting challenges but also opportunities for all players involved. It was a new situation for everyone so a lot of trust was required which, for me, turned out to be a key factor for the outcome and success of this production. I got to choose my preferred team members for this job, which had a direct impact on the workflow - it was more of a collective shoot with high levels of involvement - an overall organic process that reflects in the pictures as well. In addition, because it was a remotely organized production it was a first of its kind in regards to a more reduced environmental impact and an effectively sustainable way to build a successful brand - something that NEUBAU stands for in my opinion.
What will your working day look like in 2021?
Pretty much the same but with more remote communication structures involved and more local projects. My days are always very different but usually they somehow involve either computer work or on site shoots. Things are still very similar but a bit more complex due to regulations like medical check ups, shooting permits, remote meetings, etc.
Maybe slightly more coffee...
Do you remember your very first shooting?
I was super young, spending some time in Cape Town to work with the documentary photographer Damien Schuman to do visual art and research about the struggles people are facing in South Africa. He sent me on my first tiny solo mission to a small NGO event in a bookshop. I remember the lighting was super difficult, very dark and yellow. I was beyond nervous and also super shy at that time so I didn’t want to hold the camera in people’s faces…
What would you recommend to newbies who want to discover photography for themselves?
Just have fun and don't get frustrated. Don't assume you need fancy gear to achieve great results. Any camera is beautiful - it's so much more about what you do with it. Think about a concept and about what's your goal? Pictures for fun: Great, just enjoy the ride! Pictures for a living: so, so much more complex. It's a full-time job with lots of night shifts behind your computer screen. I don't feel like you need to study, all you need to do is shoot A LOT - practice, YouTube tutorials, insightful talks with industry people, etc. - just don't fall for the flashy stuff... Also being a photographer is much more about being great in connection with people rather than just doing some nice looking pictures. Try not to compare yourself and your work too much. But also realize: just because you own a camera it doesn’t mean you're a star, be humble and learn.
Find Nadia on Instagram: @nadiavonscotti