Creativity for Sale Podcast - Episode S1 E35

How to (re)build a photography business as an alien in the USA - Nathalie Gordon

Mon, 03 Jun 2024

"Passion drove me to risk it all and rebuild my photography career from scratch in LA.  With scrappiness and tenacity, I embraced being an 'Alien of Extraordinary Ability.'"



Show Notes Transcript

"Passion drove me to risk it all and rebuild my photography career from scratch in LA. 
With scrappiness and tenacity, I embraced being an 'Alien of Extraordinary Ability.'"~

Nathalie Gordon is a London born photographer residing and working in and out of Los Angeles.  Nathalie had to navigate the lengthy process of obtaining an "Alien of Extraordinary Ability" visa in order to work as a photographer in the United States, which involved demonstrating her abilities. 

The conversation delved into the challenges she faced in the photography industry, such as getting jobs and networking, which differed between the US and UK markets. Building her portfolio and getting her work known were paramount, alongside the difficulties of periodically renewing her visa. Nathalie discussed the scrappiness required to constantly seek new opportunities, contracts, and projects as a photographer. 

They touched on various aspects of her career journey, like rebuilding her team, finding affordable equipment, and exploring new photographic styles. The need to embrace periods of boredom to refresh creative energy and come up with new ideas was mentioned. Overall, the conversation highlighted the determination, resilience, and relentless pursuit of opportunities necessary to sustain a career in photography.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Perseverance and adaptability are essential, especially when working in a creative field with a lot of competition.
  2. Building a strong network of contacts and collaborators is crucial.
  3. Embracing periods of boredom can allow for new creative inspiration to emerge.
  4. Continuously developing new ideas and projects is important to sustain a career over time.
  5. Having a scrappy, entrepreneurial mindset can help navigate the challenges of the industry.





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Radim: Hey Natalie, welcome to the show. It's really actually a pleasure to have you here because [00:02:20] after we've just been reminiscing before the recording, we've known each other for 15 years.

Nathalie Gordon: Yeah, I had no idea it was so long. It feels like we've known each other maybe three or four years, [00:02:30] but yeah, thanks for having me on the show. I'm really excited.

Radim: to people who never heard of us, they'd be like, why are they talking about how long,they've known each other? that doesn't have anything to do with me. But [00:02:40] the reason why I want to talk to you about how long we've known each other and the work we've done in the past is because halfway through our, working friendship, you have [00:02:50] moved, you have now upped your stakes and went from London all the way to LA to rebuild your career.

What was the move? Why did you move?

Nathalie Gordon: So, a very [00:03:00] interesting story. I never really had any kind of. dreams or ambitions to live in America. you know, I already lived in the best city in the world, which is London. everyone [00:03:10] flocks to London. all my friends are from all over the world. I was like, I don't need to go anywhere.

Everyone comes to London. so the move was, it was [00:03:20] very, all last minute. So I was working as a photographer's assistant as a digital technician and slowly building my career on the side as [00:03:30] well and had switched from shooting music, doing music videos. Producing music videos, just everything within the career, within the industry.

Sorry. [00:03:40] And, one day I just, I don't know, I just heard this voice saying, pack your bags. You've got to move to LA. I'd never been to LA before, but I had just come off a two week job in [00:03:50] Miami as an assistant and drove up to see a couple of friends of mine and was like, Oh, this is what I need.

But I didn't know what this was [00:04:00] until when I got back to London and then somehow it was just like go to LA and I was just like, okay, and then a few friends of mine.were like, Matt, you've never been to LA, [00:04:10] what are you doing? I'm like, I'm just gonna go and see what happens, it's fine. And they were like, okay, well let's take a holiday,see if you actually like it.

And I was like, there's no need guys, I've already made my mind up, I'm just gonna [00:04:20] go. fast forward, I had decided in Marchand then by the November, I was here in LA and, got a tourist visa, was out [00:04:30] here for six months, didn't know anyone, didn't have a job, didn't have a working visa, no friends, I think I had, no, I had two friends, one that had just moved from [00:04:40] New York and had only been in LA for six months, so was still new, and then another friend who is, you know, married with kids and everything, so I didn't really have time to [00:04:50] help, you know, help me settle on anything. So I just, I don't know, found, just found my feet just by everyone in the UK saying, oh I've got friends [00:05:00] in LA, go and meet this person, go and meet this person. So I made a list of everyone that everyone else told me to meet and then somehow I just kept meeting more and more [00:05:10] people.

Radim: So you said you left the best city in the world, which is, everyone London and that's my reason why I'm here. this is quite a bold move for moving to somewhere [00:05:20] that you've never been to. had any contacts. Obviously I can attest to it. this is exactly what I've done in, yousome 24 years ago.

If you have listened to this podcast, you know, you hear me talking about [00:05:30] 24 years ago for every episode. So I'll stop that because I'm,intrigued because it's that courage. And I think the conversation I want to have today is about. rebuilding your [00:05:40] career and kind of literally starting afresh because there's, I think we can be easily comfortable with where we are and like having, the network around us and having everyone for everything.

[00:05:50] You can pick up a phone and just, speak to anyone, have problem solving anywhere. And when it comes to not only rebuilding that sort of friendship network and a sort of contact network, rebuilding your [00:06:00] career, it's quite daunting. You, so you moved to LA, you didn't know anyone, you just got some contacts and you would try to launch your career as a photographer for the second time.[00:06:10] 

So how did you get on with getting work? How did that start?

Nathalie Gordon: with my tourist visa, it's only, eligible for six months and you're not [00:06:20] able to work, so you're not allowed to take on any paid jobs. And so I was like, okay, well, six months is enough time. for me to A, figure out if I like it, B, [00:06:30] figure out how to get a sponsor to get a working visa and C, are there enough contacts out here? So I, during that time, [00:06:40] I just went on to Facebook groups, went on to Eventbrite. I just tried to go to as many events as possible, meet people, and I just offered [00:06:50] my services out for nothing. There's actually a really good support group here called Brits in LA. So I would go to that networking breakfast every Tuesday, like clockwork, because you just never [00:07:00] know who you're going to meet.

And a good friend of mine said, Nat, don't worry, just don't say no to anything, just say yes to everything. So I basically said yes to everything [00:07:10] and just tried to get myself out there. But I think the best thing that I did was to just start doing test shoots and building [00:07:20] a team and finding good people.

And literally by offering myself up just to collaborate with makeup artists, wardrobe stylists. I [00:07:30] was able to start building a nice network and those people then referred me to other people. So I was actually able to get paid work once my visa [00:07:40] was approved. I remember at the time I had people saying, how do I pay you for this?

I'm like, you can't, just cover the expenses because I'm legally not allowed to take any form of payment. [00:07:50] So if you wanna cover the expenses for the shoot. At least I'm not out of pocket. so yeah, that's pretty much how it started. And literally I think just by the good grace [00:08:00] of people and word of mouth, I was able to, start building some contacts and some relationships.

Radim: I think, yeah, it's quite clear that your style and your [00:08:10] work,from my experience, obviously knowing your work, because we've done various projects together from various experiments, trying to throw things in the air, photograph them and [00:08:20] scouting for models and fashion designers and makers. And I mean, it was quite fun to, to try to do all of that.

But I can, I [00:08:30] felt like instantly that when I've seen latest work, your work from that time when you moved, it just felt elevated. It just felt, it felt American. It felt a bit different [00:08:40] and it felt, just one or two of them, too many levels up, like you just instantly improved. And I think at that time he told me like, Oh, it's the sunshine.

You know, the sunshine is good in [00:08:50] here. The work is nicer because you don't get the weather in London. Um.admired that you said that, so you went to every networking breakfast and you said yes to everything, because [00:09:00] that's definitely one of the recipes on, getting known and getting, getting out there, but did you feel, I mean, I know you're quite outgoing person, but did you ever feel 

intimidated by the [00:09:10] new environment and like doing it all again? 

Nathalie Gordon: not really. I think just because I was actually really unhappy in London and the weather, yeah, did play on my [00:09:20] mind, but as well, likethe industry is very closed knit. if you don't already know someone, it's very hard to get to know anyone. and in America, I mean, LA and New York are [00:09:30] very,very different. so when I'm in New York, I have contacts there and they're more willing to like, get me on board on things, but LA, it just takes a bit longer because [00:09:40] there's trust issues, which I understand now being in the industry in LA, because people talk a lot of nonsense and they say things and then they don't deliver [00:09:50] and it's very In terms of, finding people to speak to, I didn't find it that difficult. I just was like, every, ever since I got to America, [00:10:00] I've always just been on this countdown. So I get my visa and it runs out in six months. So I'm counting down the days until I have to deliver all this information to [00:10:10] then apply for a working visa. Once my working visa was approved, I panicked again slightly. I was just like, Oh crap, I've got [00:10:20] three years to either do something really amazing or just keep doing what I'm doing. So I'm on this constant countdown and I'm even now, I just spoke to [00:10:30] my attorney today. Like I've got to renew another year on my current visa while I wait for my green card. So immigration weighs a lot on my mind in terms [00:10:40] of,I have to juggle that with work. It's not like I've just, woken up and I could just concentrate on work. I have to think about every job that I'm doing. Will this look good on my visa? Can [00:10:50] I use this to elevate myself and to show that I'm, worthy of being here.

Radim: So satisfy my curiosity, because obviously I was in your position in, [00:11:00] this country, in England. But. I didn't have to do a zilch compared to what you had to do, like originally I had to have like a self employed visas and then business [00:11:10] visas but it was more about paying a lawyer to make a case study or whatever and they're like yeah that you're approved becausethat's years ago [00:11:20] but tell me about so you're talking about a visa structure Talking about that for a second.

What do you have to do to get approved? Like who decides, Hey, what would you [00:11:30] decide? What would you put in your application? And who then judges it? Because it seems to be like a bit of an X factor for creativity and immigration really. 

How does it 

work? [00:11:40] 

Nathalie Gordon: yeah, it is like X Factor. so I had to put a case together, because of the type of visa that I'm on. I'm on an O 1 visa, which is, the [00:11:50] official name is Alien of Extraordinary Ability. So if you have, a really good talent in art, science or sport, I think. [00:12:00] then you have to show why you're so good and why your sponsor needs you to be here. So I had to, luckily, a friend of mine, [00:12:10] way back when I was shooting music, he told me, Oh, anytime you're published in a magazine or newspaper, just scan or save that cutting. [00:12:20] And I was like, Okay, I didn't really understand it at the time, why I needed to keep all these magazines and newspapers, but before I,left London, I scanned [00:12:30] everything in, and that was my saving grace because I was able to use that as part of my portfolio to put forward to, the US government to be like, Hey, I'm really good at what I do. [00:12:40] so yeah, I found the process really easy, but I think it's just cause I was meant to be here. I don't know. I just believe in weird,like, you know, you just follow the path that the universe tells you to [00:12:50] go down. And, But the O 1 visa is actually a really difficult visa to get, so you have to A, have a sponsor, someone that's like your agent that's to say, hey, I really [00:13:00] need this talent and here's why I need her. then I have to have 10 to 12 letters of recommendation. I think you wrote one for me in my original. Visa to say how we know each [00:13:10] other and how you know me professionally in my career and everything else. and then I need like deal memos. So I need like people to say, yeah, we want to book her, but we can't book her until you give her [00:13:20] the visa. So this is what we plan to pay her. So you need deal memos and then you need a portfolio. So 

Radim: I feel like we only like a one, one 11th of the [00:13:30] whole answer in, because that seems like there's a lot of paperwork. do all of this. And how do you find, because I've got no experience of this, like, how do you [00:13:40] findthe efficiency of the process? Like, is it, does your attorney like handle all of this or how much, extra work do you have to put in yourself to make sure that it gets seen, [00:13:50] processed, 

judged, buzzed by Simon Cowell, since we talk about X Factor, how does it work and how quick is it? 

Nathalie Gordon: I have to do quite a lot [00:14:00] of the work, so I have to gather all the letters, I have to gather, I have to know all these people, and then I have to put my portfolio together, so I, very haphazardly [00:14:10] just chucked everything into Adobe Acrobat, and organized the pages, and put press, and then put, exhibitions, award, like, all the things that, you know, is needed, the key to it all [00:14:20] is to have a really good attorney, and my attorney has literally, the world, I don't know, it like saved my life in a way because I was just so unhappy in London and now, through the power of [00:14:30] my attorney helping me through this whole process and literally holding my hand every step of the way, has made it a less painful and be, doable. [00:14:40] yeah, if you don't have a good attorney, you will scratch your eyes out. It's painful.

Radim: That's amazing. So I guess you need an attorney, a good attorney and what a good lawyer and good accountant. That's the [00:14:50] things in business that you always need. That's for sure.good luck with it all. I mean, it's been great to watch that journey and, thinking of anyone follows the conversation, Oh my God, if I want to move to America, that seems like a [00:15:00] lot of work just to make the basics, but let's talk about what your passion drove you to get there, which is photography.

did you have stylistically any idea [00:15:10] what you've been going into? Did you have any sort of stylistic plans, what you're going to shoot or, because I know your forte is fashion. Yeah. beauty portrait, is that, do I [00:15:20] have it right? You've seen my research, you've been in my brain, it's perfect, so. what was the plan?

Did you have anything in particular that you wanted to achieve? Like, okay, I'm going to LA, I'm going to shoot, I mean,I'm sure your initial [00:15:30] work, when you did everything for free, was a little bit, I think you shoot some famous people and,tell us the beginnings and style.

Nathalie Gordon: as I'm getting to know a lot of [00:15:40] people, um, because my background is in music, I had a lot of people refer me to music people out in la so I actually photographed, [00:15:50] one of Neo's. I can't remember which one, I don't know how many kids they have now. but yeah, his wife had just had their, had one of their babies, and so I went to their house.

It [00:16:00] was really, really bizarre. I got picked up in this big, massive, suburban SUV. and with all my equipment, and I was like, I can't just, I have a car, I [00:16:10] can just drive there, but they insisted on coming to get me, loading all my stuff into the car, and then going to her house and setting up and everything else, and, yeah, that [00:16:20] was one of, one of my first jobs, out here, but in terms of, like, My kind of visual direction, I don't really know how it came [00:16:30] about.

I was just open to any and every idea, and I would just collaborate and experiment and try to learn the U S market. Cause it's very different [00:16:40] from the UK and Europe. I knew I didn't really want to go into high fashion and I realized it as much as I wanted to I was just like I'm [00:16:50] not a fashionable person like I have a little bit of fashion sense but it's more commercial cheesy fashion than it is high fashion so you know how when you just you see [00:17:00] someone on the tube and you're just like oh yeah they work in fashion you can tell straight away that's not me so I just you accepted that and was like,what am I?

 And I was [00:17:10] like, well, I'm very commercial. I'm very like fun and colorful. So my style of work led me into advertising. So I do a lot of, beauty. [00:17:20] And with that, I do some fashion editorial, which is fun. and the portraits are really good for kind of working with celebrities because it makes sense being in LA.

[00:17:30] Like it's Hollywood. Everyone's here. Like everyone. lives here, everyone is working here, so if you can get a few good portraits in your book and then start to like [00:17:40] pitch that to celebrities then, yeah,

you're 

winning.

Radim: Am I right to remember your drunken story with Gerard Butler? Is that something that you, is that you? I [00:17:50] mean, speaking of famous people, I just somehow remember like a message, like there's Gerard Butler in my 

bar. Is that right? 

Nathalie Gordon: Yeah, that is right. So, okay, don't [00:18:00] ever let me near celebrities after I've had a drink because I will treat them like they're my best friends and just start talking to them about absolute nonsense. So,me and my friend [00:18:10] was in a bar and he goes, Nat, don't look now, there's Gerald Butler. And I was just like, what?

Okay. And then as we're walking out, he's walking out as well. And I noticed he has a motorcycle [00:18:20] helmet in his hand. And I was just like, Oh, are you about to get on your bike? And, uh, he was just like, yeah, I was like, are you sure? Cause you've had a [00:18:30] few drinks. I hope it's safe, be safe. And then I went off on a completely different tangent about how I had a Vespa and how one day I was driving through Clapham and this [00:18:40] police car almost knocked me off. I was telling him the whole story and he was just looking at me like. Who is this girl? Like, what is she on? But yeah, that's one of them. Another one was, [00:18:50] I was coming from a listening party, going to another party, and as the Uber pulled up to the hotel, I saw LL Cordier. I didn't even wait for the Uber to [00:19:00] stop, I jumped out the car, and I was like, Uncle L, Uncle L, can we get a selfie?

And he was just like, yeah, sure. And then I proceeded to kind oftry and lure him into the [00:19:10] party I was going to, and he was just like, I have no idea who you are. I was just, and he's like, whois my friend Steve's party? He's like, who's Steve? I was like, you know, you know who [00:19:20] Steve is. I'm drunk and just as I'm talking to him, he's backing away.

Radim: I was gonna say, that sounds like a perfect, like a few drinks conversation, like [00:19:30] when you replay the next morning going, right.but let me take it back because I just somehow that glimpse of the memory, so there's no flash through my mind. So.We [00:19:40] were talking about sort of portraiture, like doing portraits and famous people and style.

And said a few minutes ago, like your photography just got that burst of color, that burst of energy, like [00:19:50] right away. And it looked American almost, of course there was your little sort of signature style in it, but it was just like, Oh my God, this is what you needed for your career to do.

so [00:20:00] when you started putting your team together, Were there any sort of cultural differences? Did you find people easy to work with? Or like,did you find that actually people were even more excited and more eager to help stuff with stuff? [00:20:10] Because I remember from the shoots that you and I did, like when we had some people who came to help us for free, sometimes they were quite hard going.

I never felt like everyone was there to change their life and go [00:20:20] like,Hey, look, this is my opportunity to actually know someone and do something else or use as a. props or somewhere. So how was the energy of the new team and like their skills and how quickly did [00:20:30] you learn from them? How did it add it to your work?

Nathalie Gordon: the energy out here is so different. Likeeverybody wants to do something and everyone wants to be somebody. [00:20:40] and everybody is not sure who is going to become somebody. because there's this air of, uncertainty and the unknown, everyone puts in a lot more effort [00:20:50] and, everyone really gets excited about everything that's going on and everything that we're doing and,I'm still doing, like, all my mood boards and I'll pitch it to a few members of the, [00:21:00] of,makeup teams and hair, hairstylists that I work with and say, hey, like, I've got this idea, do you wanna, try and bring this to life?

And. Nine out of ten times, everyone's like,yes, please, [00:21:10] absolutely. and if I think back to my first encounter, One of the makeup artists I work with, who I still work with now, she saw my Facebook post and was just like, oh [00:21:20] wow, yeah, I need to get on her radar ASAP, because, she's gonna go somewhere and I wanna be on that journey with her.

and Like she's been with me from the beginning [00:21:30] and anytime I have an opportunity to get her on a commercial or anything, I'm like, Hey, listen, I've got this paid gig for you. And it's really nice when you can [00:21:40] support the people that have been there for you from the beginning. And. Even if you, even people that haven't been there from the beginning, anyone that's like willing to help, I'll [00:21:50] always remember because it's not easy juggling immigration and a career and trying to stand out above 1, 500 other photographers that do the same [00:22:00] thing. 

Radim: did 

you find that the people that offered to work with you, did you feel like you had to vet their skills? Like,was there anyone who like, wasn't up to [00:22:10] scratch or did you like? if you say like it's such a melting pot, but everyone's really excited kind of just waiting when they get a break, when they become famous, like when the next thing will happen for [00:22:20] them, is everyone like, did you find a standard of the talent and the skills like adequate for that sort of drive?

Nathalie Gordon: yes, you can notice [00:22:30] it very quite quickly, you know,you can see just in someone's work and also in the way that they respond to you. So when I put out my initial, Hey, I'm [00:22:40] new to the new to LA and this is what I want to do. It was the people that contacted me more than twice. or at least twice, that I knew were serious [00:22:50] because I get so many requests even now on my Instagram and whatever, and it's like,Hey, I love your work.

We should do something. I'm like, Okay, yeah, what do you want to do? [00:23:00] Like,you gotta come with something. You can't just be like, yeah, let's do something and then expect me to, be the driving force behind it. And unless it's my idea, then I'm [00:23:10] not really gonna respond in the same way. But it's like, when I have an idea, I will present it like I'm doing a presentation. Like, Hey,I've got this idea. This is what [00:23:20] it looks like. I think I can get this model. I think we can be in this magazine. You know, I'm putting a whole package together. So it's the people that kind of resonate with [00:23:30] my kind of work ethic that I will then respond to.

But if you're just going to be like, Hey, yeah, let's do something. I'm like, Sure. But no.

Radim: I think that's [00:23:40] a really good, interesting point when you say like,to people who are responding, or like responding more than once, more than twice. And I think that really shows, that people want it because I [00:23:50] remember having people on the team before who've sent six, seven emails.

They're like, Hey, I'm interested. Let's have a conversation. What do you think? Have you got something for me? And I think that's such a [00:24:00] valuable takeaway because That's somehow like the, you and I got gigs before, like how we got to work with people like, Hey, I'm still here. Do you need me? That kind of stuff.

And it's [00:24:10] definitely helpful to be in people's minds because. I heard somewhere, someone's technique that they say, like, they've got like a three different lists of people that they respond to, [00:24:20] either they sort ofget in touch, like you've got a group that you email every month, like, okay, I'm here, this is what I'm doing, what you're doing now, like you keep active conversation and you get [00:24:30] people like the second group there, Email them like every three months to six months, you know, like, Hey, you know, I'veseen what you're doing and kind of stuff.

And then, the group C, which is like,now and then, like you see, keep an eye on them. And I think it's [00:24:40] really important that. You showed that tenacity, you showed that drive and you showed that willingness that you want to do something because it's quite easy to actually be on the internet and go you should pay me 10, [00:24:50] 000 for waking up because, that's what I believe I'm worth, I don't know who you are, like, what do you want, what's going on?

And, yeah, this kind of like this sort of shout out and I They [00:25:00] shout out on Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn, like, Hey, I'm looking for photographer. And then, oh, my friend is a photographer. And then just they tag their friend Barry, that sort of [00:25:10] took five pictures and Barry goes, yeah, I'll, give it a go.

And you're like. How did we end up with such system where somehow people think that because someone tagged them, they'll get [00:25:20] a job and sometimes, we've been, someone tagged us in a pile of comments on Twitter and LinkedIn, and it just never goes anywhere because you want to find a way.[00:25:30] 

How not to be in that space, like how, okay, this person's got a problem, I need to find a way how to speak to them about a problem without having to punch up in the [00:25:40] comment section, which is,it's always going to go to a mate of a mate, like it's never going to go. That's kind of what I asked because I wanted to know and kind ofshare through these conversations like [00:25:50] what was the little tricks and tips that made it work and you said it really well likedon't make me be the driver of this idea like no hey we should do something together like I think it's [00:26:00] always important to show like what's your value like hey I can help you with this or this is my idea I don't think there's ever a negative price for [00:26:10] being too excited because what you've described the way up now in the last 20 odd minutes is that I was happy to do this, you know, you projected your energy, like you just said, okay, I [00:26:20] believe I need to be here and I think if it was similar for you as it was for me, like my first two years in England was like a never ending holiday.

Everything sounded amazing. [00:26:30] Everything tasted amazing. Everything sounded great. it's just like when you're on holiday, like you, you leave the sort of everything behind. And I think it's just like moving to another place. It just [00:26:40] makes you excited.

And I was like, yeah, can I do? what can I help you? Like,you want to find your purpose. So.Yeah, having those people who are keen and interested, I think you can quickly see through it. [00:26:50] So don't go in after what you want. it's always really good. So you build your teams.

you've got a team and, you know, you've got a sort of preferable group of people and you started shooting [00:27:00] stuff, so it was to be established that obviously you needed six months of not being paid, but try and do things. So after that, obviously you got picked up in a [00:27:10] suburban SUV, as you called it.

It sounds very big as a car. Yeah. Where'd you go next? what'd you do? Like, how does it snowball from there?

Nathalie Gordon: that's a [00:27:20] really weird, hard one to answer because there was a period of burnout that I got. And I just took some part time work just to [00:27:30] cover some bills and I had to regroup because I went out of my way to meet everyone, see everything, do [00:27:40] everything. you get a bit burnt out trying to do it all.think it was 2018. I, I just didn't put any pressure on myself. I just did the basics. I [00:27:50] was really lucky enough to, partner with a,a body parts modeling agency and I go in and I shoot their comp cards [00:28:00] for them and then they, the models pay me and then they get assigned to the agency and then You know, that's consistent work, so it's somewhat [00:28:10] creative, as in I try to make it as creative as possible, but after you've shot 50 or 60 hands, you're like, okay, well, what else can we do, in the short space of time that we have with no assistant, no [00:28:20] set, and minimal lighting, So I kind oftook some time out to regroup and just, think about doing jobs, not just for money and just really focusing on what I want to do. [00:28:30] And then that came around the same time as I got my agent and, everyone always asks like, Oh, I really need an agent. I really, how do I get, how do you get one? I think in [00:28:40] this day and age, not everyone needs an agent. So I got one because I wanted to understand the American market more. She's obviously American, so was able to [00:28:50] help me navigate that. Whereas if I was already here and established, I probably would just have a bunch of producers and I would still go out and make my [00:29:00] contacts. so going from, Just getting by on, some free work into actually building a career out here, has been,being part of certain photography [00:29:10] groups, and speaking with other photographers, getting to know the market, speaking with art buyers and creative directors, getting into some directories. [00:29:20] So that people can see my name, go into portfolio reviews. That is, that's a big one for me because I feel like I get booked more once I've met someone. [00:29:30] So it's a case of, yeah, you can see an email come in, but I always try to meet them in person, even if it's just for a quick 10 minute coffee or something, [00:29:40] because,I find I get a better connection when I see someone in person.

So,Yeah, I think that's how the transition is, just with the help of my [00:29:50] agent and going to portfolio reviews and everything else.

Radim: So, you made an interesting point about taking on jobs to make money and because you needed some money [00:30:00] and, burnout that it's interesting observation because actually you could, because you can never really see that you're heading into burnout because you're working too much, [00:30:10] but then it hits you.

how did you feel about it from the perspective that. You knew you've got your clock counting down and you feel like [00:30:20] I can't work. did you feel like it was like a double edged, what I call double weighted sort of pressure? Like,okay, so I need work. I need to do this. I need to do my visas. And [00:30:30] I currently can't feel like I'm actually can do work.

That must've been quite hard, right?

Nathalie Gordon: Yeah, it did feel like I'd wasted a whole year on my visa, but I was like, [00:30:40] there's nothing I can do. Like, I can't keep going the way I was going and I needed to take a step back and assess. And, always [00:30:50] think about the worst case. Worst case, I would just go back to London and figure it out. Figured it out going to LA. I could figure it out pretty much [00:31:00] anywhere now. I think I've proved to myself that Anything is possible is if you're determined enough and if you're passionate enough But yeah, you do have to take a step back [00:31:10] like no good can come of trying to power through burnout it just makes you worse and then you can spiral out of control and 

Radim: But you said, so long was your [00:31:20] burnout? Because you just mentioned like,you feel like you've lost a year.what happened? Like, did you actually, was it? Was it that bad? Like, when you feel like you've lost a year on your visa [00:31:30] or was it because of like you spend the time working and then time burning out 

or 

recovering even? 

Nathalie Gordon: I think because, yeah, I was, [00:31:40] it was towards the end of my first visa and I knew I had to renew and I knew I needed more things in my portfolio to show, what I've been [00:31:50] doing. and I just couldn't really, I was just doing the bare minimum. Likeif someone asked me to shoot up like, yeah, sure.

Okay. But I wasn't actively. Doing what I do on a daily basis, which is try and put myself [00:32:00] in everyone's fit in everyone's face. but, I just needed to, when I say it felt like I'd lost a year, it's just because I'm on [00:32:10] this countdown, like every day matters until your visa runs out and you have to make sure that you're doing enough things so that when it comes to renewing, they're going to say yes. [00:32:20] But I think once you've got a second renewal, you're in like the, what they call the O1 club, which means you're great at what you do, just keep doing it kind of thing.[00:32:30] 

Radim: It's interesting categories like I mean I always find with American for the forms and visas like especially like the EIN and that kind of stuff like being the alien double alien working for American [00:32:40] companies and it's always like what form is that why is it double EIN this like sometimes I find likethe American legal system so confusing and I'm grateful for the English one which is a lot less [00:32:50] simple with the work that you do As a photographer, did you bring with yourself and how much did you have to rebuild?

Because photography is not a [00:33:00] cheap profession at all. how did you get your gear 

going? How did you get all that set up done? 

Nathalie Gordon: Um, this is actually a funny story. when I kind of was likepreparing [00:33:10] myself to travel over, my mum said she wanted to come with me because I was flying into Florida first and I was going to just stay there for a bit and then before flying to [00:33:20] New York City. L. A. and we've got family in Florida, so she wanted to come with me.

And I was like, great, you can carry all my hand luggage. I went out and condensed all my kit into a Peli [00:33:30] case, and then I had, some lighting with me as well. my hand luggage was my camera, my mum's hand luggage was My lighting, which was in this massive [00:33:40] backpack,the lights I'd actually leased from a company in the UK, so I leased the lights with the idea I was going to trade them in for [00:33:50] newer ones, but they said that there was an option to buy them if I just made the final payment, so I just kept making the payments on my, I don't even know if I was allowed to take them out the [00:34:00] country, but I did.

I was just like, as long as I keep making the payments, they're not going to say anything. so I literally just took my two lights, my camera, [00:34:10] lenses, laptop, and some clothes. And, my mom helped me, bring everything over and. Once I got to [00:34:20] Florida, I was like, I've got too much stuff for me to carry on my own to LA. So I did it in two parts because I knew I was going back to Florida for Christmas. I went to LA [00:34:30] in early November, took half my stuff with me, found an apartment and everything else. Then went back to Florida with next to nothing and then bought the rest of my [00:34:40] stuff back over. So I kind ofdid it in two trips. and then, yeah, once I started, figuring out what I needed, I, the first thing I bought was C Stands because you can't transport [00:34:50] them, they're so heavy, and for good reason, so it's almost cheaper to buy new ones than it is to transport them. So got some c stands. I think I spend my life [00:35:00] in Sammy's camera because that's just between Sammy's camera and B& H in New York That's where all my equipment comes from. so every time I have a new job I'm like, oh I [00:35:10] need this thing and I know I'm gonna get paid this amount of money so I can afford to buy this new thing.

Radim: When you said I spent my life in Sammy's camera, I'm like, what is Sammy's camera? I don't know. How did you spend your life in there? Now it [00:35:20] makes sense because that's a shop, right?

 And B& H, B& H for cigarettes, right. 

Nathalie Gordon: sorry if If you're a photographer, you know B& H in New York. It's like the biggest [00:35:30] superstore of photography, video, and everything audiovisual in New York. Maybe in the US, I'm not sure.

And then Sammy's is 

the West Coast [00:35:40] equivalent.

Radim: Oh, amazing. I would have loved to seen the face on the scanner when your lights were going through the, youknow, baggage checkout and just like your baggage [00:35:50] were, you know, the security check, you're like, there's a light.

But yeah, I mean, very shrewd about getting your mum, you know, being a photography mule, getting you, getting your stuff into the States. [00:36:00] But yeah, who knows about the lights? No, who cares? You got them, you paid for them.

I like it. I like it. It is just make it scrappy, make it work. that's what I like about the story, that [00:36:10] obviously you, you've,we've made it with the bare minimum and you just keep adding.

And I think that's, I think that's the best beauty of it because sometimes we tell ourselves like how much ready we need to be [00:36:20] and if you try to make a plan, I think you overthink it. I think that might be the problem that you know, oh, I need this and that's what I need for that and I know I need whatever's happening next, [00:36:30] whereas.

10 pack of B& H and 10 pounds in your pocket, and you know,there'll be a party somewhere like obviously that's many years ago, but I think not overthinking it helps you to shed [00:36:40] that fear because when you start thinking, Oh, how am I going to, pay for this?

I'm going to pay for that. Uh, you know, what's going to happen next? Of course, like you've got that timer ticking in the background all the time, but [00:36:50] I think. Yeah. Having it sort ofpart fluid always helps to just open it up and see what happens next. So I think that's really interesting. I don't know what a C [00:37:00] stand is, but I'm sure you can tell me.

Nathalie Gordon: You've seen them on shoots, those metal stands and they have likean arm, it's what the [00:37:10] lights go on to, they're just really

solid and heavy. 

Radim: Those ones. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Got it. Yeah. You see, we haven't done a project together for a while and I've been working on photographers, not paying [00:37:20] attention. so you build a team. So I'm going to go back to your team because the photography that you've put together. It's been interesting.

Obviously, we did a project, over the pond of [00:37:30] actually, it's been through three different countries, which was inspired by, color thesaurus, like a moods of color. Like we wanted to do a project and one day we'll do the book we [00:37:40] keep talking about for a long time. it's about sort of colors and,meanings of colors and feelings of colors.

It was inspired around the time when, I [00:37:50] was working on my second book called Book of Ideas, Volume 2, surprise. And, there was a project which actually I worked on with an artist from LA. She was a musician [00:38:00] and she still, I'm sure she still is a musician. And she was one of those people, I think, originally from Nashville, landed in LA.

And we were talking about her album artwork for a campaign [00:38:10] and. What she said, she was like, we need to work out what color this is. What color is this album cover? And I'm like, oh, this sort of single cover. And I was [00:38:20] like.Well, there's this thing called synesthesia, synesthesia is when you see colors when you hear music and I said, send it to some people and we see what happens.

I have, I think I'm [00:38:30] yet to find more than one person in my life who genuinely has got synesthesia, like from the friends that I've got in LA. pretty much everybody else, like everyone you ask, everyone's [00:38:40] got synesthesia, like everyone's like, me, me, me, send me the song, andthe colours came back, wildly different, blue, yellow, green, and she said, oh yeah, it's [00:38:50] this guy, I've actually, I can actually trust, he says, it's like a, it's like a maroon colour, it's like a E flat, some sort of chord, like not some sort of scale, it's like,that's what it sounds like, that's what [00:39:00] it looks like to him, so that's what we use.

Nathalie Gordon: And there's an actor out here, Terrence Howard. I literally watched something on Instagram, I'll send it to you. he talks [00:39:10] about, the body and how scientists previously thought that electricity governed our way of being, but it's actually frequencies. And [00:39:20] those frequencies come in likeE flat or B minor or whatever, and those come with colours.

Radim: Wow, that's amazing. need to look it it over. I will include it in the show notes [00:39:30] as well. so yeah, I mean,obviously as you, as we've got sort ofmutual appreciation of colours, we did a project where you photograph Jessie LaRae, [00:39:40] is that, that, yeah? Jessie with your team, like model and it was Brilliant.

Like I think I like the scrappiness because I think you shot it like in your lounge or in your kitchen or [00:39:50] something like we just did on a photo shoot and built a set in 3D as a background and did all of the stuff. I think what was really nice that you can plug it into your team quite [00:40:00] quickly.

I think even though. I'm still in London and, you know, the agility is here. Like I found that every time I wanted to work with someone from LA and I worked with Ellen Hancock [00:40:10] in the past, like she's a, I think quite sort ofsemi known model over there. And every time I wanted to do some work years ago, it was like, Hey, look, I need you with half [00:40:20] makeup, half, not half.

untouched face, whatever, and the photos arrived like the next morning. I was like, how did these people do it? And I just like the scrappiness and actual sort of [00:40:30] agility to actually create something and actually to drive. And that was really exciting. with the work, with the people that you're doing, like how much of a say does anybody have, [00:40:40] do they follow the order?

Like,do you direct it all? Is it collaborative or do you guys work? 

Nathalie Gordon: it depends, so each project's kind of different, but,if I've got a really, really [00:40:50] strong idea and no one really understands what is going on, then I'll give all the direction. So I did a shoot, maybe a year ago, it's called Crimes Against [00:41:00] Women, and I kind ofhad Jessie, again, she's like my little muse,like she was acting as well as modeling to be these three different types of women. And I had to get like hair, [00:41:10] makeup, everything, studio, and did all the props myself. but the team didn't really, they couldn't really see the vision until I had done it. And so I was given a lot of [00:41:20] direction. Whereas there's been other projects where I've come up with the mood board. And then because I'm trusting the makeup artist to understand.the [00:41:30] contours of a model's face, like the idea that I might have, might not necessarily work on a specific model that we have. And so I rely on them to adapt and change and kind oftweak the [00:41:40] ideas slightly and say, well, what about this? What if we do something like this? And I'm like, yes, 

because sometimes it's easier to say yes to something you've seen, then to try 

and explain what you [00:41:50] actually want.

Radim: That's really interesting because I think With the branding work, I think. for example, like designers were so late to think, Oh, we need a mood board for this [00:42:00] because it was like, let me show you what I think. And it was working with photographers before I met you. It was like, Oh, there's a mood board.

I'm like, Ooh, what's that? you set it up and you, well, I [00:42:10] remember like15 years ago in design, I was like, Oh, 20 now, something like that. You're like, Hey, I've got a mood board. I'm like, what are you doing? talk about Woodward's for a bit. What [00:42:20] excites you?

Where do you get your ideas? I'm not going to talk about inspiration. Like where do you get the excitement? Likewhat hits you on the 

nose? Because you live in a bit of a Disneyland, let's be [00:42:30] honest. Like,things are sort ofon steroids and everyone's pretty and,colourful and everything's, you know, loud and fun.yeah, where does the inspiration. for the [00:42:40] starting point comes from and then how do you go and search for those sort of pieces of nuggets that you put together in the final mood 

board. 

Nathalie Gordon: I get a lot of my inspiration [00:42:50] from music again, like I feel like I'm not sure if I have synesthesia, but like music definitely helps me generate a bunch of ideas [00:43:00] and sometimes the ideas are really elaborate or sometimes they're really simple. or like from film and tv as well. So like for some reason I was watching some films from like [00:43:10] the 1940s and I wanted to recreate that kind of lighting for beauty shoot.

I haven't done it yet but it's one of the mood boards that I, one of the many mood boards that I [00:43:20] see. uh, in terms of like colors and everything, I mean, LA,like it just has such magical light. And then until you're here, like [00:43:30] when you're outside and you're taking photos, everything just pops. Everything is just really bright and colorful.

And always been my aesthetic, even when I was in the UK. I just couldn't [00:43:40] create it enough because. My environment was a bit dull and gloomy, so I wasn't necessarily being influenced by my environment, but I found that, what [00:43:50] I noticed the most was during COVID, I realized I get a lot of my inspiration from talking to people, and I only had the same three people in my house to [00:44:00] talk to, and we were driving ourselves crazy, like, I need more, I need to be out in the world again, and Again, like everyone in COVID was, you know, they were [00:44:10] learning new skills and coming up with these masterpieces and I was just on my balcony drinking white wine from morning to night because I just, I had no inspiration.

I was just like, what [00:44:20] is this? Well, if the world's going down, I might as well go down with it drunk. So,I didn't have any kind of want or need to just set something up at [00:44:30] home and do photo shoots at home. I just, it's like.What do I do? there's nothing here. Like,yeah, I've listened to all the music and everything, but it's like a multitude of [00:44:40] different factors that get my inspiration going.

Radim: The music part is very like, something I can attest to. not so much these days, [00:44:50] butdo you get in a groove, like it comes to music, is it music that's new, music that you know, is it like, do you find inspiration in stuff that makes you feel something [00:45:00] new for the 50th time, or is it new music, like would you 

say the music is the inspiration? 

Nathalie Gordon: It's probably not new music. Sometimes it is, but not [00:45:10] really. 

Radim: it's new music to you. that's what I mean. Like, is it, new stuff? Because I mean, it could be anything, but for example, it's a 70s music where you hear it for the first time, or you hear it [00:45:20] music for, you know,it's a new stuff. So that's what I meant.

Nathalie Gordon: Oh, okay. I think it's a combination of songs I've not heard for in a long time and you're like, Oh my God, I [00:45:30] forgot about this song. And you know, it's a song from back in like the sixties or back in the nineties or something. And you're like, Oh wow, I totally forgot about this song. Like,I don't know if you, have watched Saltburn. [00:45:40] But

there's a 

massive 

Sophie Ellis Baxter revival. 

Radim: I think I'm halfway through. Yeah. halfway through. last night. Yeah. doing that trick where I just fall [00:45:50] asleep halfway through so I've watched some of it, but yeah, there was some old classics coming through. 

Nathalie Gordon: yeah, the songs, I was just like, oh my gosh, can you remember this? And so,um, [00:46:00] there's a bit of nostalgia in there with music, in terms of, creativity and inspiration. But,It's normally some house music, because that's what I grew up listening to, all my friends were listening to R& [00:46:10] B and Hip Hop, and I was just well into Hard House and Soulful House and Disco 

House and all the houses.

Radim: when you listen to music, is it, [00:46:20] stylistically? Do you think about, obviously you might have sort of,let's say you might have a synesthesia, so you're thinking about sort of theme, but does it give you idea of a shape, of a color, about sort of mood?

I [00:46:30] mean,because you talked about lighting from a 1940s or 60s movie, and How do you put it together? Like what sort of, relate to it because my ideas are like, I can put 

[00:46:40] them together, but you need people and cameras and staff and all of that. So how do you,get that spark and where does it go next?

What do you see? [00:46:50] It's 

Nathalie Gordon: it's 

really, it's quite funny because when I, have done a couple of test shoots, sometimes it's really hard for me to get images to the team because in my head, I've seen it maybe [00:47:00] five or six times. So I see the image before it's created and then I see the image again while I'm trying to put the mood board together. And then I see [00:47:10] the image while I'm shooting. I see the image after I'm shooting. I see the image again when I'm going through my selects and figuring out which one is which. And then when it comes to [00:47:20] retouch, I've seen it again. So that's six times. And then by that time I'm bored and I'm like, Oh, I didn't do a good job. And then [00:47:30] It's almost like I, I have to wait for feedback to come in or I have to leave it alone for a bit, go and shoot something else and then come back to it and be like, Oh, I did this. 

That was actually really [00:47:40] great because,I don't know, I get a bit fatigued from looking 

at my own work for too long.

And so I'm constantly coming up with new 

images and wanting to shoot new

[00:47:50] things. 

Radim: you say that because if sometimes you feel like would you create, I think you need that time to absorb it because. You need to digest it [00:48:00] because I think it happens to a lots of people who go like,and 

I think it happens in any client presentation, especially if you don't give them the work the,creativity in advance and [00:48:10] you're like, well, I don't like it today.

And then you go and do another seven different things and then you come back to the first one. Because everyone realize, actually, you know what we headed, we just didn't give it enough time to actually [00:48:20] ferment them, and sink into our minds properly. Because I think that's what it is, because.

it's amazing then to come back to something. All right. You know, we've did a good job. We've done a good job. And [00:48:30] especially if you like, if you're busy, if you're busy for years and years and years, and you look back and Some of it's a bit shit,

because you're like, yeah, you know, like,I think we didn't really sort of like,[00:48:40] hit that well, but worked with someone, I had a,great creative partnership with a 3D artist for five or six years, and Thomas, actually, Thomas was on the team thatwe used for our [00:48:50] collaboration, and We did hundreds of pieces of work every year because it was just like, it was fluid, it was daily, like we it was a full time collaboration.

And [00:49:00] only when, we've all changed what we wanted to do and we've gone our sort of separate ways and I've changed my style of work, only then I could actually appreciate with the distance of time of what's gone into [00:49:10] it. Of course, some of the stuff was a bit like, it was too rushed, it was got like, it was tests and compositions and stuff.

But some of the things were like, Oh my God, I wish I could actually slow down [00:49:20] and enjoy it a bit more because I'm a big believer of saying like,own it and enjoy it, do it that way, like mostly this is your process, grab it by the horns, [00:49:30] look into what you can do, likelook at options, like whatever, like,explore it because my new favorite quote is no risk, no story, like [00:49:40] that's If you don't put yourself out there, you might never find out, but when you're risking it all, you are so preoccupied, and [00:49:50] sort ofdisrupted by these sort of outside elements going crazy.

I've got so many things to look out for. I need to pay everyone. I need to get paid. I need to get the client. Everyone needs to be happy. We need to [00:50:00] get all the work done. And it's just it's this big melee. And obviously then you get life and family time and sleep and energy and exercise.

what sliver of your day is [00:50:10] actually to sit down and say, I can focus on this. I can actually appreciate what I've been doing because I think what we've created for ourselves is that we've got the most amazing technology we've ever had. We've got [00:50:20] the most amazing abilities to do things.

You can learn about things. And then you start thinking about the survival mode, have I made enough money to do this? Or [00:50:30] is this right? And we don't necessarily have that time to actually sit down and digest. I think that's the sort of, sit down and digest, I think, are the true words. does it [00:50:40] happen often to you that you look back?

Because, yeah, your process is long. To get something across the line can be long. in creative situation that you get people who want to do lots of quick [00:50:50] jobs because that's exciting, but then they get really bored of the quick jobs. They wish they had a long job and they have a 

long job and that feels too long.

So they're bored again. So there's like never the happy medium. [00:51:00] Sohow do you fight this? Like, how do you find a problem? And do you ever set yourself down to actually let something. Like sit and mature before you sort ofreview it, or do you [00:51:10] sometimes have to 

go quickly with the time and how do you remedy that?

Because when you get bored, 

what do you do? 

Nathalie Gordon: first of all, 

I'm a firm believer in [00:51:20] you need time to get bored. You really do. That's where some of the best ideas come out of, like for me especially, likeif I'm really,really super bored and there's like [00:51:30] nothing to do, or if I'm, traveling through Thailand, I'm on a bus for nine hours, I can just stare out the window, like.your mind starts to relax and then slowly but [00:51:40] surely these little nuggets of information come in and then you know you write them down in your notes or you see something you're like oh my god that's an idea for a shoot like my notes in my phone i've got like [00:51:50] one that's just all these ideas for photo shoots that i want to do And I find it really helpful to have so that when a client comes to me, so I think one of my [00:52:00] first shoots in LA was a client that came to me for some sunglasses.

They had a whole idea planned how they wanted to do it. I didn't really like it and I was like, 

what if we [00:52:10] did something like this? It's a lot simpler and I just pulled out this mood board that I'd already created and they absolutely loved it. so I feel like,yeah, you 

need 

time to get bored and [00:52:20] 

What I tend to do is sometimes if I'm doing a project and I know it needs to be out, I just try and suck it up and focus and just go through the [00:52:30] images and just pick out the best ones. and usually, because I've done it enough times, it's like a muscle, 

you kind ofget going.

Radim: It's interesting that you say I need [00:52:40] time to get bored by you looking out a window in Thailand for nine hours. I mean it's not exactly being bored is it? It's more like I actually have time to unplug because There's too much [00:52:50] information I think because I mean I'm trying to work out what people say when you say get bored because.

You can't be bored because you're in Thailand, you might be, you know, exactly on a school [00:53:00] trip, you know, needing to pay attention because I just always find like being bored. It's just that's really the pits, which are like, I've got nothing to do. There's nothing interesting. There's nothing boring.

[00:53:10] there's nothing, of my interest. AndI think it's just that absorb. Like we need to absorb our surroundings and I think it's just maybe like having a, like a lack of [00:53:20] active task that we need to do because that's one of the things, like, I I think I saw you tweeting the other day, likelet's agree that all the best ideas are in the shower.

Is that what you put? 

I [00:53:30] don't know. I've been off Instagram for, yeah. Was it, where was it? 

threads. 

Crikey. where did I end up like trying to avoid most of the stuff most of the time, [00:53:40] butit's what everyone tells themselves because you unplug because you might not be thinking about invoices in the shower.

you're like, you know what, I'm here to do something different. And there's so [00:53:50] many mindful exercises where actually you can actually focus your mind. Okay. I am drying my hand, I'm drying my arms, I'm drying my shoulders, like literally you can just [00:54:00] focus on actually what we do, because we're lucky when we find ourselves in the shower thinking about the good stuff, because most of the time you might be catastrophizing, you might be going, [00:54:10] this is all scary, you know,the clock is ticking, I've got no work, there's that, the sea stars, I need to get more of those, you know,being silly.

it's unplugging. I think it's what happens also with [00:54:20] our client work. they almost stand in the shower for a bit, go, you know what, that first idea was really good. You know,Oh, I should have agreed to this or now this makes sense. [00:54:30] Or, it's all these things that sometimes we are so misaligned with the work or because where we are personally, because from your personal experiences, I'm sure you can tell that.

And that's one of the [00:54:40] things that you do now, which you wouldn't think you would be doing, 20 years ago or 10 years ago. And I think this is that sort of beautiful way of just us maturing and going and having [00:54:50] these different experiences that shape us, that sort of give us these new perspectives and different understandings.

Maybe I could have listened a bit better. Maybe I could have understood this better. Maybe [00:55:00] I was like, you know what, I'm going to try this. And actually, I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for this because I've done some really good work and I 

didn't really appreciate it because if you go [00:55:10] into this way of the strive that we, that you and I have, people like us, you're never really happy until you realise that you've passed that peak, you know, like, you know what, thatwas [00:55:20] really good and I didn't really appreciate that moment.

And it's just like, how do you Condition yourself to actually appreciate the small wins because there could be so [00:55:30] many different factors in the play and that, doesn't always happen, we don't always give ourselves that space to celebrate. That makes sense. Would you agree? 

Nathalie Gordon: [00:55:40] yeah, I think it's a combination of both. So when I say, bored and I'm on a bus in Thailand, it's because I don't, I haven't pulled out a book to occupy my [00:55:50] time. It's like,I've got no Wi Fi on my phone to, look at the internet while I'm on this bus. I'm literally just choosing to just stare out the window and just observe the world go by kind of [00:56:00] thing.

And that's kind of what I,try to do on a weekly basis, not stare out the window, but I give myself Fridays. So on a Friday, that's the day where [00:56:10] I don't have to work. I don't have to do anything that anyone's asking me to do unless I really want to. And it's my day to, I'm not a good drawer, but I'll get out [00:56:20] a sketchbook and just get some crayons and just. I'll do something, or I'll try and learn something on Procreate on my iPad, or, I'll put together some mood boards, [00:56:30] or I'll colour in my colouring book, or I'll learn some new prompts on Midjourney, like, that's my day to just flush out the crap, [00:56:40] and just see what happens. It could turn into something or it's just not, at least I'm not just, watching Netflix and going, why haven't I got any jobs in?

It's,it's my day to, [00:56:50] to soak up some more art or go to a exhibition or a gallery or something. It's every Friday is my non work day. So if you're trying to email [00:57:00] me on a Friday and I respond, great. If I don't respond, I'm not, I,

you can wait till Monday, 

Radim: Is that what happened? Is that what happened? with this conversation? I emailed you on a Friday.[00:57:10] 

yeah, I love that. I love that. You have a day to ring fence just for these little experiments. I think that's amazing to, to have.it's [00:57:20] just going back to that board thing. I've got two young children and they're like, they can be busy for hours. They finish this and go, I'm bored. I'm like, dude, you just [00:57:30] spent hours drawing all over the house.

can you be happy for one second? But it's just, it's great. It could be seen as a negative, but I'm like, you know what, that means you're looking for something else, like you want [00:57:40] to do some, like some other challenge. And I think that when we retain that, when we sort ofsometimes rediscovered it in our lives, you know what, I want to learn about that new thing called Procreate.

I want to learn, about the crayons [00:57:50] and like experiment things. And that's why I find kids amazing because you're like, Oh, let's. Plat a lot of acrylic pain all around the house because, you know,that's, 'cause that's what we've got today and see how [00:58:00] things are working and that, it's nice to have that little window into things and I think that's really good.

sometimes, you know, like incorporate robes you might not really get. So [00:58:10] what's the plan for next? Obviously I know that, I think you mentioned a green card's finally coming, but work-wise,what's your mood boards like? Do you have a, like storage? 

of the ideas and you go [00:58:20] right.

And two, like in two years, let's say there was a mood board from two years ago, and you realize, oh, that was actually a really 

good idea. 

Do you have a storage? And does it, where does it take you for the [00:58:30] full, for the feature? 

Nathalie Gordon: I do have a whole plethora of mood 

boards on my Dropbox. It depends. It depends on whether my agent is just like,Oh, what have you got? I [00:58:40] need some new images. And she's go and shoot something. And I'm like, Oh, okay, what do I shoot? And then I go look into my mood boards and try and either shoot something seasonal or relevant or just something I [00:58:50] really enjoy. I actually have,I'm doing a collaboration with Leica camera and I'm going to be featured in their gallery in March. And that's something I'm [00:59:00] finishing off this week, before my other work commitments. But in terms of, what's really next is, I know we spoke about doing this book on colors, but I've I've got [00:59:10] some more ideas that I'm going to talk to you offline about because I think I've worked out how we can put it together and I'm definitely going to need your help because I've not published a book before [00:59:20] and like I've got ideas on how big I want to make it and what to do and the layout. I don't, yeah, it's a whole thing.

But yeah, that's something I really want to work on because I [00:59:30] absolutely love learning about color and I've been a bit apprehensive on approaching companies like Pantone because I wanted to do stuff with them and I just [00:59:40] love like how organised their colour system is and it's just, yeah, a whole thing.

Radim: If there's anything I've learned [00:59:50] about getting and getting approached by big companies is when you show them what you can do before they approach you, because I remember putting on an exhibition and I wanted to work with Apple was like, [01:00:00] give me 20 iPods for my show. Who are you? What do you want?

I've never heard of you. Like,obviously no one ever replied. but it was like, when you flip the scales, okay, you know what, this is what I'm [01:00:10] doing. This is what we're doing. If we've proven the concept, like, oh, hello, 

what can we do with you? You know, like,again, it's just when you.

reply more than once, you know, when you're like, Hey, this is me. [01:00:20] This is what I'm doing. Hey, I'm still doing this. You should be paying attention. And you just keep going. And I said this quote in my first podcast with Kyle, it was like, be so [01:00:30] good that they can't ignore you. it's that quote,just believing in what you do.

Going with it, sticking to your guns. I have this unwavering sort of [01:00:40] tenacity going, you know what? I'm going to do this. I'm going to pursue this, I'm going to risk it. I'm going to have a story to tell and someone's going to take attention. Not to pay attention very quickly, very [01:00:50] soon.to what I'm doing, and I think this is where you're headed.

yeah, I can tell you, more about it, well, the kind of workshops I'm doing at the moment and stuff, but yeah, I will hopefully help you, you know,make a book [01:01:00] about all of this, because yeah, we need to make it happen. It's just a bit of a nightmare making big books, so I can give you some advice on how not to make an oversized book, which is a nightmare to post.[01:01:10] 

But, hey, we could be having this conversation for a long time, and I think we, should continue offline. Thanks for coming on today and sharing your story because I just, the reason why I want to talk to you about your [01:01:20] LA story and you know what you've been doing and where you've come from and how you're doing this because it hopefully could be useful to someone knowing what they can do or how they can be an alien of [01:01:30] distinction.

Is that right? Alien of 

distinction? 

Nathalie Gordon: Alien of Extraordinary Ability.

Radim: Alien of Extraordinary Ability, which I can't even pronounce. [01:01:40] yeah, I just hope that people find a value in this, because what you've done, you've proven it's possible to do, and you can enjoy it, you can make the right contacts,you can pursue your dream, [01:01:50] and mainly pursue that amazing sunshine.

Thanks for coming on the show. 

Nathalie Gordon: yeah, it's been emotional, just touching on to your point, like literally anything is [01:02:00] possible. We hold ourselves back a lot and what you said earlier about just starting, it literally is that, like there's so many things I've started [01:02:10] and I haven't even, I don't even know what I'm doing.

I'm just doing it. And sometimes it leads into something great and sometimes it doesn't. And, if I want [01:02:20] Pantone to see what I'm doing, cool. If not, alright, I'm still doing it anyway, kind of thing, it's worth doing for yourself more than anyone else. yeah.

Radim: [01:02:30] Amazing. Thanks for coming on the show. Nice to have you on.

Nathalie Gordon: Alright, thank you! 

Radim Malinic: [01:02:40] Thank you for listening to this episode of Creativity for Sale podcast. The show was produced and presented by me, Radim Malinic. Editing and audio production was masterfully done by 

Neil [01:02:50] mackay,. from 7 million Bikes Podcasts, 

Theme music was written and produced by Robert Summerfield. If you enjoyed this episode and would like to support the podcast, please [01:03:00] subscribe and leave a rating or review.

To get your own action plan on how to start and grow a life changing creative business. You can get a copy of the Creativity for Sale book via the links in show [01:03:10] notes. burning, and until next time, I'm Radim Malinich, your guide through this exploration of passion, creativity, innovation, and the boundless potential [01:03:20] within us all. [01:03:30] 






Radim Malinic

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