This website is created to honor the memory of Natalie Gillett on the occasion of her 25th birthday. Natalie, born September 28, 1980 in Chicago, passed away on June 13, 2003 at the age of 22. She lives on in our hearts and we will remember her forever.
Born two months premature, Natalie was an impatient perfectionist that found most things came easily to her. She began drawing at a young age and quickly became the one asked to make posters for school projects or to create someone’s name in bubble letters on a book cover or folder. Art was within.
In high school, Natalie signed up to take an illustration course over the summer at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. She was terribly disappointed when she received a call stating the class was full and she needed to choose another class. After much contemplation, she chose photography and within four weeks, photography became her first love. Natalie changed her entire curriculum for the upcoming school year to take an advanced photography class at Mother Theodore Guerin High School.
Upon graduation and contemplation of many colleges, Natalie chose the School of Visual Arts in New York City to continue her exploration of photography in their four-year program. Natalie was a big-city girl and the urban campus called to her. She moved into the Gramercy Park area and the following year to Newport, just across the river from the World Trade Center in Jersey City. She studied in NYC for 2-1/2 years. Natalie particularly enjoyed manipulating the development process of black and white photos. A purist at heart, digital just wasn’t for her.
The photographs of her works displayed here include a self-portrait profile created while in high school, and the others during her studying at SVA. Natalie loved bones and created overlayed images of anatomy illustrations with her photos. She captured details in her works and was very much at home in a darkroom.
Random thoughts on Natalie: loving, caring, beautiful, full of laughter, warped humorist, stubborn, sparkling eyes, perfectionist, reflective, boisterous, artistic, searching, good listener, moody, lover of French fries with ranch dressing, impulsive, exquisite taste, excelled at sports (baseball/softball, volleyball, basketball, shot-put, disc), incredible smile, honor student, friendly, impatient, lover of luxury, rubinesque, a quick-study, a pack-rat, impish, and now at peace with a special place deep in the hearts of many.
Natalie suffered with depression for several years and took her own life. We will never understand the pain she was in nor the whys of her choice. As her Mother, I am passing on a poem that came to me during my journey of life that may bring some comfort to you.
Another day for you to wonder, another day for you to mourn
It wasn’t my intention to go before the coming dawn
My pain was deep within my heart and troubled head
It wasn’t my intention to go without words said
My frame of mind seemed normal, or so I heard them say
It wasn’t my intention not to see another day
I did not mean to make you suffer or cause you so much pain
It wasn’t my intention to never see you again
Despair and confusion left my aching mind unsure
It wasn’t my intention to suddenly close life’s door
If only I could give you reasons and brush the tears away
It wasn’t my intention to leave you and not stay
I did not mean for you to grieve, now left alone to cry
It wasn’t my intention to leave you, forever asking why
As the burden of life’s worries slowly ebb from my heart
It wasn’t my intention to tear your soul apart
- Y. Docherty
Please share your thoughts, photos, and beloved memories of Natalie with the universe.