Creative Inspirations: Natalie Fobes, Photographer
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Telling stories with images


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Creative Inspirations: Natalie Fobes, Photographer

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Video: Telling stories with images

(Music playing.) Natalie Fobes: So this is the wall where I display some of my magazine work. It's not always about photographing the big story for the big magazines, but I've also diversified in the last few years and started doing some weddings, and I find that with my wedding photography it's still a story. It's still telling the story of the person's day, of that couple's day.

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Watch the Online Video Course Creative Inspirations: Natalie Fobes, Photographer
54m 30s Appropriate for all Jul 02, 2010

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This installment in the lynda.com Creative Inspirations documentary series introduces the diverse talents of one of the world's great award-winning journalistic photographers, Natalie Fobes. Whether on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea facing frigid cold and 40-foot waves, or capturing a bride and groom moments before I do, Natalie uses her innate storytelling abilities to capture a moment forever. Her instinctive ability to compel her lens to speak so eloquently has garnered her over 200 awards, numerous fellowships, and a finalist spot for a Pulitzer.

Natalie is a mother, teacher, and writer, and is constantly seeking her next creative outlet. From her beautiful home overlooking the Puget Sound to a spectacular nature shoot in the Olympic National Forest, Natalie shares her journey with us through memorable stories and unforgettable images. Watch how she has both braved the elements to get the best shot, and reinvented herself to adapt to the shifting sands of her profession.

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Photography
Author:
Natalie Fobes

Telling stories with images

(Music playing.) Natalie Fobes: So this is the wall where I display some of my magazine work. It's not always about photographing the big story for the big magazines, but I've also diversified in the last few years and started doing some weddings, and I find that with my wedding photography it's still a story. It's still telling the story of the person's day, of that couple's day.

I kind of tease them when I say "National Geographic, Smithsonian - those are my long-term stories. You are my short-term stories." In one day, I have a chance to get all the photographs that I need. It's a challenge, and it's very creative. This photograph was taken just moments before the bride was going to be delivered to the ceremony site, and she looked up and saw one of her friends outside waving at her, and all of a sudden the joy of her day just became so obvious on her face.

My training as a photojournalist in capturing the moment came in handy, because there was one frame that I was able to grab of this particular expression. It was a fleeting moment, and I love that about the weddings. Not only can you do some of the more traditional setup shots, the more portrait shots, showing the bride in her glory, but you have to capture the moments. Here, a childhood friend, a Methodist minister, is dancing with a belly dancer, which the couple had hired to kick off the reception.

Wonderful moments that happen everywhere in life, not only on the big assignments, but also on smaller assignments, the weddings - these moments happen everywhere. Another area that I've diversified into in the last few years is into personal portraiture, and I love that I can still tell those small stories, those small moments like a mother's love for her child, or the pride of my daughter when she turned six, complete with missing teeth and everything else.

This was a piece that was really fun to work on. It was a commission piece for the Seattle Arts Commission, a temporary exhibit on salmon, and the title of the piece was 'Salmon in the Trees.' And the whole point of it was to hang these flags in a park, in the trees surrounding a salmon stream, emphasizing the importance of salmon to the health of the ecosystem of the forests of the Northwest. It was wonderful; it was really a lot of fun. This was a wonderful shot that happened by accident when my oldest daughter put a tattoo on my youngest daughter's face.

Well, and as a mom, I wasn't very excited about that, but the next day I realized, what a wonderful symbol, the dragon on my daughter's cheek. So I created this portrait and then tried to do something a little different by having it just printed right on the canvas, to see how the texture of the canvas would help with the texture on her cheek. When I took this shot, it's a high school senior, Riley, wonderful young man, a very talented trumpet player, but when I took this shot I knew it had to have a presentation that was a little bit different in order to truly tell that story, the story of Riley.

I did a little bit of work with the saturation to pull it back a little bit and intensify some other areas, and then found an incredible master printer to print this photograph, and put this soft beveled edge on the mat. I think it really is important when you're looking at the photographs to figure out the best way that the presentation can help tell the story of these photos, because that's what it's all about, telling a story with your photographs.

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