Laced with vulnerability and innocence, an indescribable emotional experience occurs when viewing Natali’s photographs. An evident reflection of youthful fragility, the young boy shuts his gentle eyes and raises his petite chin upwards towards the light, a sweetness exuding from his smooth visage. No burden of responsibility, no troubled anxiety, no sense of hardship; only natural naivety prevails, only undaunted trust for the turbulent world. A plant’s shadow emerges, rising from the middle of his chest to his collarbone, where the leaves form a vague heart-shape, portraying an image of inner serenity.

In another photograph, two large hands possess the wrinkles of time, the lines of love, the creases of suffering like the map of a river with many meanders and many tributaries — these are the hands of someone who has lived and laughed, someone who has hurt and grieved. Clasped between these are a pair of smaller hands, soft and unwrinkled, fragile yet also filled with immense potential — these are the hands of innocence and inexperience. Both hands carefully caress a Calla Lily, creating a shelter, providing protection, expressing love.

It is impossible not to feel jealous when recognizing a child’s unknowingness of sorrow and abundance of happiness. There is a sense of wanting to be naive again. Perhaps we even secretly wish for a blank slate. Wish for a new canvas to paint on. However, it is precisely these inner hardships which we fear, which we conceal, that shape who we are. Natali’s photographs embrace fragility, allowing us to learn the greatness of vulnerability, inspiring a profound personal reflection that is both melancholic and magical.

Photographer: Natali Urma / @natali_urma

Writing: Naomi Townsend (ONLYCHILD Team) / @naomi.townsend