Spotlight Regular

with Natasha Marco

by Aileen Kyoko Haugh

“Everything in New York is a photograph. But you have to choose to see it that way” Natasha Marco explained to me at our sit-down interview, one early June afternoon. We were tucked away on the window seats at Café Regular du Nord. I found Natasha through the world of “hashtags”, “likes” and “follows”, better known as Instagram. I came across a feed with several photos that undoubtedly captured the unique beauty of Café Regular. Natasha’s instagram (@navema) allows viewers to catch glimpses of the way Natasha observes not just the world, but New York City in particular.
Within minutes of meeting Natasha in person, it was clear to me that this was a woman who didn’t miss a beat. Her keen eye for detail and insistence on sitting back and observing the world really sets her apart. Anyone who has spent time around Canadians might have noticed that they are surely the nicest people on the planet. Natasha is no exception. Her infectious laugh and smile sets you right at ease. She was born and raised in Toronto, to Swedish and Egyptian parents. Natasha, a born creative, moved to New York to attend NYU, Parsons, Lee Strasberg and The American Conservatory Theatre. “I was a founding member of a theatre company about diversity. We were trying to find a way to produce plays that we would want to see and be in. To tap into diversity, you want to find rare playwrights and nurture their voice. I was doing that for a long time”.
Natasha continued navigating the acting world for several years until 2008. “The economy crashed and finding work was really difficult. I needed to put food on the table. So I started working in a company that was actually aligned with theatre but it wasn’t allowing me the time to audition. At Parson’s, I studied design and photography. To keep myself sane I would do visual arts projects. I loved both performing and visual arts but the one that gave me the most feeling of balance and peace was visual arts.” Natasha went on to explain – “Because I am behind the lens and not in front of it. I am an introverted person by nature. It gives me quiet time and control over my creativity. Plus, its 100% my touch on it.” Over time, Natasha’s career moved in a new direction as her love for the visual arts took charge.
Natasha first played with Instagram when she purchased an iPhone several years ago. She began to explore the world of mobile photography and was pleasantly surprised about what she learned. “As a photographer, Instagram is such a great community for feedback. Now, you can actually submit your photos to different forums and they have a whole team of editors who look at them. Josh Johnson one of the largest forums has featured my photos.” When I asked Natasha what she actually loves to photograph, she took a deep breath and laughed. “Everything! In New York everything is beautiful, and in Brooklyn everything is interesting. People on the subway, cracks on the street and manholes are interesting. I fall in love with New York City again and again each time I photograph it”. We spoke for a few minutes about the power of observation. As artists, whatever your medium might be- it’s so important toobserve your surroundings.
Natasha then began talking animatedly about a photograph series that was close to her heart. Immediately as she began to deliver this story, her eyes watered with tears. “I started doing a series about a gentleman I met on one of my projects. He was the founder of the Roundabout Theatre Company. He passed away recently at 90 years old.” She paused to wipe away her tears. “Sorry.. I wasn’t around when he passed and he was one hell of a character. I created a sculpture of him for an Instagram series”. It was obvious to me that this man had created an everlasting impression on Natasha and her art was a means for her to express her gratitude.
I asked Natasha about her first visit to Café Regular and she nodded telling me her fiancé was the one to introduce her. He had promised her that she would love it and she absolutely did. “I am a coffee snob. Café Regular is not like Starbucks. I come here with my fiancé to hang out, talk and relax. People who want to know what real New York or real Brooklyn is- this is one of the places they should come.”
We wrapped up our conversation with the question of her goals in the coming years. Natasha gave me one of her sweet smiles and confessed “My life path has changed from the performing arts to visual arts. So there are all these chapters that are possible when you live in New York. I am exploring this new chapter. I don’t have set goals like when I was younger. I am actually content with what I am doing now. Am I struggling a bit? Yeah.. everyone is. Are there fears? Totally! But if I try to remain content right now- that’s what I want to keep doing.”
Visit Natasha’s website: