"Edge of Arabia is my photographic journey through the Islamic world that begins in the United Arab Emirates. Considered the Paris of the Middle East, UAE is a country with enormous wealth and a prosperous society bent on merging with Western influence. Hidden by the decadent elegance, there is a mesh of beauty colliding with the old and new traditions of the Emirati world. One of the primary central themes of this series, are the architectural designs and landscapes of the mosques. Islamic art and architecture hold the foundations of visual elements that specifically determine designs of the mosques. Some of my images capture these aesthetics while others focus on the environment. 'Edge of Arabia' is a quest to remove the veil and reveal the alluring beauty of the Islamic world. It is a journey through a society holding onto the ancient but standing at the edge of a modern abyss.“ (Natalie Marie Franco)
Natalie Marie Franco is an award-winning fine art photographer, master educator and curator based in Los Angeles, California. The repertoire of Natalie’s works, inherently guided by her Mexican-American heritage, expands into capturing visual narratives internationally, including bodies of work from Russia, Morocco, Turkey and the UAE. LAX Pylon creator, Paul Tzanetopoulos contributed that her work “effortlessly composes humanity as one might painstakingly compose a narrative in watercolor”. Frequently recognized by leading news and art publications, Natalie’s work has been featured in the pages of LA Times, HUFFINGTON POST, SNAPIXEL Magazine, F-STOP, Islamic Arts Magazine, Dotphotozine, Latinos Behind the Lens to name a few. She has also garnered acknowledgment from the international competitive forum from such leaders as the International Photography Award and Prix de La Photographie. The Sharjah Art Foundation has recently awarded Natalie for her contributing work that closely focuses on the exploration of the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. To date, Natalie’s work has been featured in over thirty collective exhibitions in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and has been represented by leading galleries and institutions including, Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture, MOLAA-Museum of Latin American Art, Month of photography Los Angles (MOPLA), Bergamot Station, Arthouse Tacheles (Germany), Forest Lawn Museum, 29 Palms Gallery (Joshua Tree National Competition), Venice Arts Gallery, LENSCRATCH, Pico House Gallery (LA), Gallery 825/ Los Angeles Art Association. Through her association with SANDBOX STUDIOS, Natalie has also styled for multiple international fashion houses such as Joie, Tsubo, Kipling, Kenneth Cole New York and VANS. Today, she is engaged in a Permanent Artist Residency for 30 Miles East and is excitedly working on her autobiographical project series of analogue imagery set to debut later this year.