Anderson Street Chats with Photographer Lorelei Narvaja

You may or may not agree but Philadelphia is one gorgeous ass city. Through its grit and trash-filled streets, Philly has a charm and beauty that’s undeniable to those with a great eye. 

Local photographer Lorelei Narvaja documented Philly’s charm in her newest collection entitled “You and I Forever” which will debut on Saturday, October 24th at Tattooed Moms. “You and I Forever,” which is named after our fave Jessie Ware’s hit song, serves as Lorelei’s “love letter” to Philly and its great residents. The collection features stunning portraits and candid shots of Lorelei’s close friends (including our own Creative Director) in some of Philly’s most popular and also obscure locations.

We chatted with Lorelei about her eclectic musical inspirations for her collection, her dance party/collection debut, and much more.

Lorelei on Her Collection

“”You and I Forever” is a collection I started early in 2015. What I wanted to do was shoot in the summer and find people that could evoke imagery and feelings of joy, happiness and inspired by music, pop culture, fashion photography, and cityscapes. So Philadelphia was my backdrop for the collection. What I was thinking about initially in terms of what I wanted to evoke, was just memories that you share with a really close friend or lover when you’re young and when you have an appreciation for the nuances of the given moment. A moment that makes you crack up or a moment where you just want to share for the rest of your life.”

Lorelei on How Music Influences Her Work

“Music definitely influences how I’m shooting. Whenever I’m shooting something like you (meaning our Creative Director Evon Burton), for instance, the second I see you, music starts going through my head. You were a part of my collection. So when you showed up in your car, I immediately thought, ‘Oh my gosh, Chamillionaire, Ciara albums, and college stepping music,’ that’s what I had in my mind. Usually, what I have in my mind is what I’m listening to when I’m editing a subject’s photo. Because I did, maybe 13 shoots over the summer, that’s like hours and hours and hours of editing. It was a lot of music I had on deck for my muse. Another example, when I shot my friend Vanessa in a community garden in East Kensington, I was thinking about that Tom Petty song “Wildflowers” and a lot of Cat Stevens. That definitely influenced the way I composed her photographs and edited them after I shot them.”

Lorelei on the Collection Title

“Earlier this year, I just found myself listening to a lot of Jessie Ware’s music. It was a big transition year for me, with changes in my personal life and with my professional life, really growing and propelling as a photographer. When I was thinking about what I wanted to spend my time shooting, with the people and the emotions that I was trying to evoke in my imagery, there were things that I wanted for my own life. Things like joy and happiness and confidence and maybe wisdom, resilience that kind of thing. I think Jessie’s song “You and I Forever” came up, popped up on my iPod in my car one day and I was like ‘That’s what the collection is going to be called.’ The collection I want to shoot is just going to evoke the love that people have for somebody close in their lives.”

Lorelei on her Working Relationship with Local DJ Craig Dash

“I met Craig in parallel to me doing all these photo shoots. One of the things that really impressed me about him was his encyclopedic knowledge of music. DJs sometimes tend to stick to a few genres but with Craig, I can talk about an obscure British Invasion album or Shoegazer music and he would know exactly what I was talking about. Then when I would see him DJ the next night he would integrate that same obscure song into this big dance party. One of the things that I started thinking about, which I asked him to do, was to curate a collection of music that complimented the photographs because it got to a point where I was in the editing process where music was just as important to me as the photographs. So he’ll be releasing a mix sometimes in the upcoming weeks. It’ll be on my website along with the photography and we’re having an event together on Oct 24 at Tattooed Moms.”

Lorelei on her Release Event

“One of the reasons why I wanted to do a dance party instead of a regular gallery exhibit is because not everyone is comfortable going to a gallery. Because I’m a photographer, I go to so many gallery openings and sometimes just walk in and out of there. Sometimes you don’t remember the work. I wanted people to have something tactile they can bring home, be it a magazine. I love dancing and I love nightlife, and I just wanted to have more a house party vibe where we can celebrate joy and beauty and each other. Some of the music that Craig is curating is going to be played at the dance party and I’ll be handing out print magazines of the collection.”

Make sure you check out Lorelei Narvaja’s beautiful collection on October 24th at Tattooed Mom’s! For more information about Lorelei and her photography, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

InterviewsEvon Burton