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Enrico Natali | American, 1933 -

Enrico Natali was born in 1933 in Utica, New York. He grew up and attended public schools in Carthage, a village located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. In 1951 he developed an interest in photography while a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. He left the academy in 1954 and shortly thereafter went to work for New York illustrator/photographer Anton Bruehl.

In 1960 he made a series of photographs of people in the New York City subway. These photographs significantly transcended his previous work and convinced him that photography was his vocation and America his subject. The work from this project recently resulted in the publication, New York City Subway, 1960 (Nazraeli Press, 2012).

From the 1960's on he lived and photographed in various parts of the country, including New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit. Natali's Detroit photographs were published in book form in 2013, titled Detroit, 1968 (Foggy Notion Books). In 1971 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and during this period he also produced a series of portraits published as New American People (Morgan & Morgan, New York, 1972). In the following years he traveled extensively in the United States, making a series of photographs that, together with the work of photographer Mark Sandrof, was published under the title American Landscapes (Panopticon Press, Boston, 1991).

In the late 1960s he began a meditation practice that eventually became his primary focus and culminated in his abandoning photography and devoting himself to that practice while raising a family and building a home in the wilds of California’s Los Padres National Forest. In 1990 he and his wife, Nadia, started a Zen meditation center that is now called the Blue Heron Center for Integral Studies.

In the year 2000 his 15-year-old son, Andrei, suggested that they go on a photography trip that, together with the new digital technology, reawakened his interest in photographing. The following year he began the project Just Looking.