Behind the lens with stôn

The stôn collective thrives on bringing together the energies of dynamic and creative women, and we want to tell their stories as they connect to ours.

We are thrilled to share our deep gratitude for the stunning photographic work that Natalie Faye has brought to stôn. Natalie is a photographer and filmmaker who whose arresting style caught our interest instantly. When Ton sat down to meet with Natalie, she immediately sensed that Natalie would be able to capture the essence of stôn and its creators, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Natalie was able to channel her appreciation for the perfect imperfections of stôn through her photographs. She also photographed the team in their element. She is a poised and radiant woman who brings her love of light and photography to life.

What drew you to photography as a career and a creative outlet?

As artists, I think we always have to remain ever evolving.  For me that has meant falling in love with my craft over and over again, but for different reasons. At first, photography was a reason to explore and take adventures. It slowed me down, caused me to look more closely at the world around me. There was a sacredness to being out alone, wondering around with my camera. Later, I discovered a love for photographing people, and this opened up a whole new world of collaborating, and also led into photography as a career. In more recent years, a passion for deeper storytelling has emerged.  Developing narratives through my photographs, as well exploring filmmaking. And as I get older, it is more important to me that my work help make a positive impact on the world in some way. 

What was the subject of the first photograph you took and loved?

I grew up in the South, and many of my early photographs were taken while driving the country back roads. They clearly show my fascination with all things weathered, rusty, and worn!  I loved finding man-made objects that nature was slowly reclaiming. The first photograph I completely fell in love with was a photo of an empty rope swing hung between two tall trees behind a family farmhouse.  The image was simple and haunting, and it taught me some things. I learned a lot about emotion and metaphor by studying my own reaction to that image. I still have the framed image by my desk, as a reminder.  

What inspires you?

Light. And Shadow. I’m a little obsessed with it. I’m always noticing the light everywhere I go, even when I’m not shooting. How the light falls on buildings, how it changes as the sun moves. How the light is hitting someone’s face while we are talking. Also being outside in the sun is the ultimate energizer for me. The sun is life force energy… and the lifeblood of photography. I think it’s what keeps drawing me back to sunny Southern California over and over again.  

What is it about stôn that speaks to you?

I printed my photographs in an old-school wet darkroom for years, and early on I experimented a lot with printing photographs on non-traditional surfaces like stone, wood or metal, and making collages out of photographic prints and found objects.  I loved the idea of embedding a photograph into a natural tactile material.  And stôn speaks to me in a similar way. Latondra’s designs so beautifully accomplish a fusion of elegance and roughness, refinement and rawness from the natural world. Her pieces feel as if they were forged deep in the earth… and she just set them free. Latondra herself could be described in the same terms as her jewelry... her presence is powerful, refined, earthy, authentic, grounded. She’s the real deal.  I love seeing an artist’s energy infused into their art so completely.  

What advice would you give to young women today?

Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Of yourself, and of other people. Be curious. Tony Robbins is one of my favorite inspirational speakers. He says that every “problem” is really just a question that hasn’t been asked yet. I love this. I realize that anytime I am seeing something as a “problem” in my life, what I’m really doing is blaming it on something outside of myself, and giving my power away. If I instead ask myself questions about the situation, it puts me back into a pro-active stance, reclaiming my power, and taking responsibility for shaping my future.   

What is your deepest wish for the world?

…  that we as humans remember that we are all connected, to each other and to the natural world. We all know it deep in our DNA, we’ve just forgotten it. How we treat each other, how we treat Mother Earth, so many people feeling isolated and alone… I think so much suffering could end. It’s a bit overwhelming looking at the world right now. However, I also believe change happens one heart at a time, and one person’s small kindness can lift the load of another immeasurably. So that gives me hope that I can make a difference.


Sarah W