Natalie Oberg

Natalie Oberg is a multitalented creative. Born in Ukraine, she is a Swedish-British photographer, artist, videographer, and wildlife filmmaker. She has studied and lived in Spain, Norway, and Denmark but currently lives and works in Cyprus. Natalie has a degree in psychology, has published international research, creates illustrations for natural history books, and is an internationally successful photographer.

Portrait of Natalie Oberg.

"Photography for me is like painting with light and dark." – Natalie Oberg

Landscape photographs in black and white.

Photo: Natalie Oberg // Ilford B/W Photo Print and Hamburg Frame with Passe-Partout

How would you describe your photography?  

For me it is painting with light and dark and as well as deciding what emotion to bring into the work.

Why do you photograph in black and white?

Black and white photography for me captures the essence of the scene and it really brings forward the storytelling based on shapes and light and dark. So, you can create a lot of narrative based on contrast and how light and dark interact together.

What is black and white photography all about for you?

Black and white photographs have this unique ability to evoke emotion and a sense of timelessness. For me, black and white is both timeless and modern at the same time. It's both dramatic and calming. It is both about capturing special moments and about finding extraordinary in ordinary things.

Do you miss colors when you look at your black and white photograph?

Working in monochrome is like working in realm of shapes and light and contrast and for me it is finding that contrast in those shapes and juxtaposition them to tell stories in nature.

What emotions does a black and white photo evoke in you?

With black and white photography, I look past the color and focus on light and dark and contrast and shapes to tell a story and it is all about seeing in a different way, interpreting the reality in an artistic way. The contrast in black and white photography allows me to focus on certain elements of the scene. And in a way, it is beneficial for storytelling. I think that certain things work well in color and other things work well in black and white and that is what I try to focus on when I am photographing with black and white, to find those subjects, those scenes that work the best in monochrome photography.

Are there photographers that inspire you in particular?

I am really inspired by the masters of black and white photography such as Ansel Adams, Sebastião Salgado, Clyde Butcher, and Constance Fox Talbot. And for me they bring this perfect balance of storytelling in black and white together with their personal vision of the medium and how to use their own creativity to express themselves with the subject they work with, be that landscape, people or still life.

Photo: Natalie Oberg

"When I see the final print – that's when my vision has really come to life." – Natalie Oberg

Do you think or see black and white while working with your camera?

When I am working with black and white photography, I always see the scene I am working with in black and white. In my mind, I translate the reality, which is color, to monochrome, in order to envision what I want my final work to look like.

Do you think about printing when you start working?

I always think about my work in terms of a final print. When I see the final print – that's when my vision has really come to life.

Which technique do you love the most when it comes to black and white photography?

I really like working with large format photography because it brings such rich detail into large prints. And to see the tonal depth and the high detail in a print is immersive.

If you had to choose one photograph, which would you choose?

Some of my favorite recent photographs were taken in the mountains in Cyprus and there was snow and there was very thick fog, and I really liked the juxtaposition of these old gnarly trees against a very moody and eerie mist.

Snow covered landscape, Cyprus mountains.

Photo: Natalie Oberg // Fine Art Pigment Print Under Acrylic Glass With Floater Frame Basel in Natural Oak

What does printing your work mean for you?

Printing my work for me means seeing it in the way I have envisioned it. It also means for the viewer to see what I have seen and what I have experienced, the time and place where the photo was taken, and they can see it and experience it for themselves and my artistic vision, what I have perceived and seen it like.

Which requirements do you have to an image when you configure a picture for your wall?

I like the traditional dark room look in my prints, even if they are not printed in a dark room. And I'm always looking forward to seeing my large format pictures printed and framed on a wall as a large print because I think it's when they really come into their own.

And I like baryta papers for the purpose of reproducing my work. It's because they have that traditional look and the amazing tonal values and sharpness and dynamic range that I really appreciate when wanting to photograph.

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