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National Geographic Photographer
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Natalie Fobes is known as the salmon lady. For over ten years Natalie Fobes was driven to tell the story of Pacific salmon, its struggles to survive mankind and the cultures that depended on the salmon to return each year. It wasn’t easy. Magazine editors told her no one cared about fish. Book publishers suggested she turn her project into a cookbook. She ignored them and found a way.

Based on her extensive coverage Natalie was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, won the Scripps Howard Meeman Award and the Alicia Patterson Fellowship. Her salmon story was published in National Geographic and her book “Reaching Home: Pacific Salmon, Pacific People” as well as scores of other magazines and books. Natalie’s exhibit has been seen by over a million people and is now on permanent display at the USFWS Visitor’s Center in King Salmon, Alaska.

Natalie traveled the Pacific Rim to photograph the story. She has compiled one of the largest collections of salmon-related photographs in the world. Her files include the all stages of the life cycle of the fish, commercial fishing, Indigenous cultures ceremonies, wildlife, aquaculture, research and habitat destruction.

These galleries contain just a sample of her files.


“My obsession with salmon began before I had turned thirty and the salmon haunt me still. Many times I thought I was done with the story but a phone call or a letter or a dream would pull me back in. Sometimes I think that I didn’t choose to do the story of salmon but rather the salmon chose me.”

— Natalie

“Natalie is the eyes of the salmon.”

— Raymond Moses, Tulalip elder.




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