natalie kucken

diary 13 (july 13)

I'm going to try to write down most things from this month for my own sake. I started off back in LA- stayed at the end of a sprawling suburb in a culdesac, had little 'local' photographer parties in the pool and around the bonfire and ate family dinners and stayed in a beautiful home with the kids' elementary school projects hung up all over the garage, got lost in antique stores. I went to Las Vegas where it was 117 degrees on the 4th of July, ended up in multiple strangers' hotel rooms, stayed out until it was dawn running back to the hotel. Snuck into the fancy hotel pools in a daze and my whole group fell asleep all afternoon in the pool chairs. Drove through the desert at night and stopped to see the stars in the middle of nowhere. I took a 27 hour 'scenic' train ride up the West Coast. In Oregon there was a meet up with over 50 young photographers that met through flickr, I knew everyone's name and most of their lives and all of a sudden we were all together. We all camped on a farm together. Within 3 hours of arriving I genuinely thought I was going to die because I was told that I had eaten hemlock. We swam in the rivers and creeks, caught newts and jumped off cliffs, went out to the woods in every wooded area ever. Everyone would break off and start shooting each other or explore or sit around and talk. It's really overwhelming to be in a place like the woods with that many people (and even to be in nature at all for me, haha). Or in a restaurant, imagine that, we took over every place we went, loudly and usually with smoke bombs etc. Every night many of us would sit together in lawn chairs and 'party' and talk and laugh. Every day for hours I would dance and scream to the music in the car to and from wherever we were going. I went to unbelievable dunes and beaches and old towns I felt like I wasn't on earth hiking through them. I remember tearing up from how beautiful the deepest lake in the world was, playing Sigur Ros and spending like 2 hours looking for a bandana that someone lost on the road out a car window. Every third parking lot our group stopped at everyone would start singing and dancing and climbing onto cars, skateboarding and talking in huge groups while cars where trying to get through. We went to an abandoned ghost town and in one of the destroyed houses there was a room completely full of letters all over the floor- talking about love and travels and poetry and drawings- all to the same person, they kept every one of them and then they died but the letters written to them were still there, scattered everywhere. We played a game where we ran around the town in small groups or solo and tried to get from point A to point B without getting picked up by designated people in cars hunting for them. We ended up having the police called on us a dozen times by the locals wondering why herds of kids were sprinting through their lawns and people were hopping over fences and jumping into bushes when they saw a car. I kept injuring myself the whole trip and every night I would collapse way too late into my sleeping bag in my clothes and wake up at 6 am to keep adventuring. The last night we lit off the floating lanterns together and talked until too late, the week was kind of like a summer camp only every single aspect was way better for obvious reasons. When I had to leave the next morning saying goodbye to everyone I actually started bawling which is the only time I remember ever doing that. I made some of the best friends I've ever had and experiences and I truly consider us all a family, sorry for being sappy. Anyway, then I road tripped with 6 people I had just met at the meet up in a big minivan to the East Coast. We stopped for lazing around at rest areas and gas station parking lots more than any other roadtrippers ever, had way too little showers, made the car our own living space with all of our stuff piled in every nook. We went to Yellowstone and drove through the most breathtaking scenery, I love the road and the idea of truckers and weird diners and small towns and the country and being in the middle of nowhere, I'm not used to feeling that. We drove all night to the Bad Lands to watch the sunrise there, I passed out 4 times from dehydration (I thought the entire time that I was just sleepy though) that day. We stayed one night with a photographer friend all in his little studio apartment, and all seven of us realized in the company of another person that we had all gone absolutely insane simultaneously without outside contact and we couldn't be publicly acceptable and also that we were way too comfortable around each other. At the end of the seven-person road trip I got to visit more photographers and lots of the big country homes and settle back into still-life. I stayed in a frat house in Ohio for two days with couches and hookahs everywhere and did frat things and felt like I had absolutely no responsibilities or direction. I took a long bus home to New York City, the top floor of a double decker with a front wrap-around window and stared out of it the entire time thinking of nothing. Coming back to the city I had a wonderful period of 48 hours where I was absolutely enamored with my home again, before I settled back into the life I live. Slowly walking around my neighborhood I couldn't get over how much I really do love Brooklyn. I adjusted to my apartment again, saw my friends who I had missed, went to too many events that are nothing like any other place I've been could have in the same way. Poetry readings in a tiny loft in the middle of a factory town, a huge music and photography and performance party with 5 bouncers in a huge church lit up all red, block parties and roof parties and backyard parties, even the small shows and parties in the huge spaces in manhattan dedicated to showing art, having coffee with clients until closing time, running frantically through a thunder storm at dusk through a huge park with all of your camera equipment, having someone fall asleep next to you on the subway, sitting in a circle with a huge group of strangers having beers and pizza on a roof because they saw you and asked to join. I have so much life here for being still, if that makes sense. It's the closest thing to being free but still having a structure and a place that is your own, at least for me. And it's so funny now that as I'm drinking coffee on my roof every morning that I can look at the same skyline I saw from the plane window when I was 15 and flying here because of my photography and gasped at and couldn't believe. I've found that I live my life in the past (missing things that were and won't come back) and the future (hoping and daydreaming about things that aren't anything yet) and not in the present- still. I wonder what it's like to not do that. I've been working very hard lately, at least my level of it. I know that a lot of people kind of look up to me in a semi-way on here so I won't say what I'm working on right now but it's stressful. It's difficult to make it here, I want to keep trying but I also want to learn and live more before I think I'm ready to go on with my career. It isn't really 'going on' with it if photographing is always a part of me, but I want to work on it more personally and give myself time to think and breathe and maybe be stressed about something that's not the thing I have a passion for. None of that made sense. I didn't write down even half of what I should have and I wish I could've photographed every second. Going though my computer folders I have photographs from every single day of my trip, no gaps, I'm not used to seeing that. Everything about this month was perfect and I would want to relive it forever but that's not how it works.


  1. so ethereal... out of this world

  2. I read that all in one go and it made me feel all alive <3

    1. same, made me feel extremely youthful -- moreso than usual :)

  3. I love this diary entry so much god

  4. this is the very first time words make me tear up; that was incredibly beautiful

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