About the Photographer
American, b. 1933
Enrico Natali was born in Utica, New York and raised in the town of Carthage at the edge of the Adirondack Mountains. In 1951 he entered the United States Coast Guard Academy, where he developed an interest in photography. Leaving the academy in 1954 he moved to New York and began working as an apprentice to photographer Anton Bruehl. In 1960, Natali began photographing in New York's subways, taking black and white candid shots of people on the trains and waiting in the underground stations. Echoing the photographs of Walker Evans, who covertly photographed New York subway riders in the late 1930s, and anticipating the work of artists like Bruce Davidson, who made his first lengthy color series in the New York subway in the early 1980s, Natali's photographs contribute to a growing body of photographs that look closely at the subway as a crucial site of modern urban life.
The Subway photographs were Natali's first major series, and according to the artist they prompted him to adopt photography as a vocation and to take America, broadly considered, as the central subject of his work. In the following years Natali lived in different parts of the United States, working either as a freelance or a commercial studio photographer. in 1971, Natali had also started a new series, American Landscapes, supported by a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. The following year he published the book New American People, which collects selections of the photographs he had taken in these various locations. In the mid-1970s Natali stopped making photographs entirely and in 1980 he purchased land in Los Padres National Forest in California, relocating there with his wife and children. In 1990 he and his wife founded a Zen meditation center, which is still in operation today. Natali began to take photographs again in 2001, working in color and using a digital camera.