In Focus friday - Mangeda

29 June 2018

SIG: Documentary


This week new Documentary group member, Natasha Dodd, talks us through this striking portrait.

Hi, Natasha, can you give us a little background about the shot?

This year, I went to Sardinia to a small town called Urzulei where my Grandmother is from with the intention of studying the elderly. This particular photograph was part of a larger project called "Window to the past" and this woman of 104 called Mangeda was one of the Centenarians from the village whom I interviewed to find out more about her life. The project itself was about me connecting to my heritage and gaining an understanding of where part of my family came from, and how they lived. I planned this shoot where I spent several hours with her, talking and engaging, so she was more comfortable and could be herself. This photo shows a person who has lived a fulfilling life, representing age as something beautiful to look forward to where you can be appreciated.

When she was younger her friends told her that she wouldn’t reach a fine age because she was very thin and was always ill but she says “The heart still is well.” Certainly for the age she is, she has had many difficulties. She never got married. She always looked after her nieces and she gave a lot to others. She looked after people that weren’t related to her, she was a very affectionate person overall.

What was your plan for the day?

My plan for the day was to capture the wonderful life Mangeda lived, using photography. Her warmth and kindness enabled me to express this through visual media. I was lucky to enough to gain access to Mangeda through my auntie at the last minute, on one of the last days while I was there. 

What’s your routine just before heading out with your camera?

I always check to see if if my battery life is full, bring a spare memory card in case something goes wrong! Always have a backup. Make sure the camera works basically! 

While you’re out what makes you press the shutter release?

Anything that captures my eye. I love to photograph the subjects that are not so obvious, the rougher sides of life. I love documenting social issues and have a soft spot for the elderly, so tend to press the shutter release whenever I see one!

Where can we find more of your work?

I have a website (link) which shows some of my work. As well as social media, mainly my Instagram which I invest a lot of time in: You can find me and some more pictures of Mangeda using @natashadoddphotography (link).

Which camera has been your all time favourite and why?

I have only owned one camera in my life so far, as I am a student I borrow my dad’s Nikon D3200 which is an ordinary camera. starting out as a photographer is not about the best camera, to me, its all about the idea you have.

What’s the best purchase you’ve made for less than £100?

As I have just finished studying, my most valued purchase so far is my film camera (Olympus om10) I wanted to experiment with an old fashioned/grainy feel and learn about the different film cameras they have available so it wasn’t just digital. I feel as if Film photography has a certain style which represents time as endless. My boyfriend purchased it for me online as a present, so there is a personal connection there. He actually has one himself which is where I started to notice the cameras in the first place.

what essential piece of advice would give your novice self?

Never give up with your passion, if you want it, you must go and get it. You will have barriers along the way, so you have to stay positive in order to succeed. 

And finally, what do you think photographers don’t do but should?

I think photographers should try and find their individualism in photography, what makes them stand out and different from others. Photograph what you love! Find your niche and stick with it.

I think that's great advice for all of our readers, thanks Natasha.

If you would like your work to feature in a future edition, please email us ( ).