I would describe my style of photography as…
Observation and enhanced documentation. I shoot commissioned client work for commercial, editorial, lifestyle, and conceptual assignments.
What was your first camera, and how’d you get started in photography?
Polaroid Sun 600 in 1986. Made a pinhole camera in 1989. Canon ever since. My first photography class was in third grade and led by artist, photographer and general inspiration, Mary Gail Walker.
Why did you want to become a photographer?
My mom documented her 3 years in Chile photographically, and I grew up regularly revisiting these photos for clues to my own history, culture, and ethnicity. Looking back, this was for sure my first exposure to photographic narrative and I was captivated and enamored. When I was 14, I took choosing a career very seriously and, by this point, I had 3 years of photography classes in elementary, middle, and high school. I felt like it was the only thing I had studied that I could imagine making a long-lasting career of and being endlessly fascinated by.
What’s your most memorable shot or shoot, be it challenging to capture or an interesting subject?
No way I can pick one.
One of my most impassioned personal campaigns was my Tarot series; we produced a conceptual narrative based on some of the major Arcana tarot cards, using actors and scenes I’ve captured from around the world.
We recently had a five-day shoot for Mercedes-Benz, which combined so many of the things I love photographing into one project: industrial and lifestyle work, real people and actors, unique places and innovative products.
Navigating the woods of WV for days capturing wildlife and nature scenes, and the actual essence of peace, simplicity, and place on assignment for Marriott International brings back fond memories.
For Microsoft, I reveled in capturing everything from a hometown hot sauce manufacturing and bottling plant to the face-paced action with NASCAR.
What image are you most proud of from your photography portfolio?
It changes constantly. The first image that comes to mind is from an editorial shoot about a month ago, of a sun-soaked cattle farmer in rural NC. I can’t wait until it’s released later this month, we captured some very special images together!
My dream gig would be….
For a travel interest story or tourism campaign, manufacturing, or human rights organizations. Dream clients would be Airbnb, American Airlines, Barclays, Toyota, NYT Travel, or anything touched by Ava DuVernay or Bryan Stevenson.
My favorite piece of gear is…
Currently, my Matthews Low Boy. We just added it to the kit and I have no earthly idea how I lived this long without it.
Do you shoot tethered?
We shoot a wide spectrum of jobs from intimate editorial shoots to fully-supported productions. Therefore, we don’t have a digitech 100% of the time, but we are pushing for it, even on the small gigs.
My favorite piece of Tether Tools gear is…
What’s on your photography gear shopping list?
Through our production company, Cowboy Collective, we have recently been improving our grip and digitech kits. Our focus in doing this is to break through this barrier to entry and to get gear into the hands of women interested in equipment-reliant roles in our industry. We’ve built out a 1 ton grip van with a custom fabricated grip cart along with an 36” Inovativ cart.
We are eagerly awaiting the release of the 16” M1 MacBook pro and would love to beef up our continuous lighting package with Arri and Aputure products.
The best advice I can offer a fellow photographer would be…
The obvious and always relevant answer is: keep learning, keep growing, harness that curiosity and creativity and then let it all loose in your work. But even more importantly: assemble a skilled and trusted team. Educate yourself with all aspects of the business; then choose what you’re most interested in doing, what you realistically can do, and then bring on others to help develop and elevate your own work.
About Natalia Tweedy
As a freelance photographer since 2007, Natalia travels with the lens of a storyteller. In addition to corporate and agency commissions, her immersive photographs have captured the landscapes of Southeast Asia, her own extended family dinner table in Chile, and delicate portraiture of coconut farmers in Panama. When she isn’t packing a suitcase or behind the viewfinder or monitor, Natalia can be found at home in Durham, NC stopping in on classes at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, volunteering for environmental and social causes, or joining friends on spontaneous bicycle tours. Check our her extensive portfolio here.