Headshot: Natalie Obermaier

Natalie Obermaier

Venice, CA

"I place my subject into the light and then direct by not directing. My method is more of a witnessing – my technique more of an intuition."

Natalie Obermaier was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1978. A magna cum laude graduate of Philadelphia's Drexel University with a degree in Photography, she has also worked alongside noted photographer, Jock Sturges, as a model, assistant and master printer. Natalie has traveled extensively, creating portraits in Turkey, Costa Rica, South Africa, Mexico, parts of Europe, and the United States. Only using film and her medium format camera, Natalie's breathtaking prints have been have been widely published and exhibited throughout the United States. Natalie currently resides in Venice Beach, CA.

I see most of my images as self portraits, and I am always working to understand myself through the mirror of my photographs.  When I have a subject in front of me, I see light and form and tone; when I have the image in front of my, I see myself.  The photographs function as my voice and when they are effective I am able to speak.  I often feel, when looking at my contact sheets, like I got extremely lucky, but obviously I understand that it's not chance.  There is something about the process of seeing the world play out in front of you, and selecting one instance of it, that intrigues me.  The story doesn't happen until it arrives on the plane of the two-dimensional surface.  That is when the allegory creates itself.  People are my passion and in describing one sliver of one person's emotions, I am describing my history to the world.

I find my muse behind the mystery of youth. I approach this muse cautiously, like an anthropologist lost, but hunting, in a suburban backyard with a snaking hose and retreating black dog. I place my subject into the light and then direct by not directing. My method is more of a witnessing – my technique more of an intuition. If my camera is conspicuous, spontaneity is lost and the image becomes crafted. Instead I stand waiting for the genius in them that shows me that essence of innocence. I am collecting flashes of vulnerability that reveal in us a relation to a child who, unknowingly, understands all we seek to discover. I ask of them only to be children.

Living in Los Angeles has imbued in me the idea that every patch of sunlight can be a stage. The characters, though, have to be chosen carefully, and while my casting process is instinctual, I connect to them via place, and my faith that the story will come. The overabundant sun tortures one who wants clouds for depth and tone, subtlety and threat. But grass will grow between the cracks in a sun-blasted sidewalk. If I'm lucky, if I'm ready, if my intuition serves me – then I unveil its truths and tell my story.


Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Competion, United States Winner

Solo Exhibitions

Indehiscent fruit, Room For Painting, Room For Paper, San Francisco CA

GroundWorks, Los Angeles, CA

Vespa, Baltimore, MD

La Colombe, Philadelphia, PA

Group Exhibitions

RFPRFP Artists, Shasta College Gallery, Redding CA

A Venice Collective, Beady Minces Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Create:Fixate, somewhere downtown, Los Angeles, CA
Un est Deux, The Raven Café, Prescott, AZ
Annual National Juried Exhibition, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Develop, Stop, Fix., Photo Impact West, Los Angeles, CA
Katrina Benefit Auction, House of Blues, Los Angeles, CA
Small Works Exhibition, Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD
Portraits, Real And Unreal, The Stage Gallery, Merrick, NY
Opening Night Invitational, The Blue Venus, Butte, MT

Preface, Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA, September,
2002 National, Cooperstown Art Assn., Cooperstown, NY
Juried Show: Photo Center Northwest, Seattle, WA

Juried Show: Stepping Stones Gallery, Huntington, NY
Drexel Thesis Show, The Print Center Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Viewpoint London, Nesbitt Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
The Receptive Eye, Photo West Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Show: Sol Mednick Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Professional Experience

Photographer, Social Project Finance Initiative, South Africa,

1999 - 2003
Studio Manager, Master Printer, First Assistant, Model, Jock Sturges, Seattle, WA and Montalivet, France


Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, Bachelor of Science in Photography -- Magna Cum Laude, Continuous recipient of Deans List and Drexel Grants


Zzyzyva, Summer 2009
Adorama. “Ones to Watch”, December 2008
Arbor Skateboard Catalogue, Summer/Fall 2006
Diva Magazine, Cover Photograph, July 2006
Femme Fatale Magazine, Femme Du Jour, November 2005
Shots Magazine, “Domestic Photography”, December 2003
The Photo Review, Photo Competition, November 2003
Photo District News, Photo Annual 2001, May 2001
Photographer’s Forum, Best of Photography Annual 2001
Mystery Vault Book Covers:
Cover Photograph for Mourn The Living, by Max Allan Collins
Cover Photograph for Payback, by Philip Harper
Cover Photograph for Death Benefit, By Philip Harper
Jock Sturges New Work and Jock Sturges Life Time (Printing Credit)

EYE BUY Natalie Obermaier...