One moment please.

Personal

As the sun finally sets on 2013, I can’t help but reflect on the past year and the new one that will begin tomorrow.

Around this time, most photographers blogs tend to be filled with their end of year reviews… hundreds of beautiful images showing what an incredible year they’ve had. I apologise. I should really be doing the same. But it just doesn’t feel right.  Yes, I’ve had an incredible professional year, Photographed some beautiful weddings, travelled to some amazing places, launched an exciting new wedding blog and it appears…I’ve inspired some individuals along the way.

I won’t bore you with my ramblings this evening.  But what I will say is that over the last 12 months (like most of you) its been both good and bad.  I tend to write about the good stuff and try to forget the bad but its not always doable which is why I’ve kept quiet for most of the year.

Personally, its been incredibly hard. 

I’ve said goodbye to friends that should still be here. It was always going to be tough. I just didn’t think it would still hurt so much.

Watching close family go through the pain and grief of losing their babies and feeling totally helpless. I know just being there for them may have helped…but I wanted to do so much more.

Seeing both my kids collapse with seizures, rushed into hospital and waiting nervously to hear what the doctors will say. I can’t put into words the emotions that ran through my head that day. Thank goodness they are both well now.

My list goes on.

I’m sure each and every one of you have experienced your own difficulties. Many of which none of us will ever read about. I’m certainly not looking for sympathy here. Its life, my life. I’m not sure why I feel the need to write about all this. However, I’ve deleted it twice already and keep coming back to it, so its got to be worth putting out there, right?

 Throwing myself into my work has helped me deal with a lot of these horrid things. I do try to get a positive out of a negative. And it works, to an extent.

So, as I draw a line under 2013, and conclude its been both cruel and kind. I look to 2014 with a brave face and a ridiculous amount of confidence.

There are so many exciting things to look forward to:

Professionally:

  • weddings
  • portraits
  • commercial
  • professional practice
  • Cwtch the Bride
  • PLUS a new project!!!

Personally:

  • The imminent birth of my niece (due in feb)
  • Quality time with my family
  • More walks along Newgale beach
  • Turning 36yrs old eek!
  • My annual NYC adventure (maybe i can persuade my husband to join me this year?)
  • Lots and LOTS of laughter.

 

So here is to the safe arrival of 2014. I wish you all a great evening.

Enjoy x

 

 

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New York, New York

Personal, Portraits

I finally made it!

I’m currently in New York City this week.  For those that have been following my personal profile on Facebook; you’ll be enjoying the images I’ve been taking around Manhattan (St. Marks Place being my favourite so far).

The purpose of this trip was to spend some time with one of my favourite photographers, the amazing Lois Greenfield, a very well known Dance photographer.

I first came across her work when I was at university (1996-99), I pulled her book ‘Breaking Bounds’ off the shelf in the library and spent hours pouring over the images. I simply adored the way she captured movement.

Lois’ work made me realise that you can push ideas beyond what what you think is acceptable. I’ve never considered my work to be average, normal or typical. I’ve always wanted to push myself beyond what people expect. In my eyes; to succeed is to exceed expectation.

As the majority of my work these days revolves around weddings, portrait & commercial projects. I have been quietly developing my professional practice, concentrating on ideas that fuel my interest in photography.

Having photographed many dancers over the years I wanted to spent time in Lois’ New York studio and observe. I wanted to see how she works, how she collaborates with the dancers, constructs, develops and pushes ideas.

What I didn’t expect was to be given the opporuntiy to work alongside her constructing my own ideas with her help & assistance, along with her staff; the amazing Jack, The talented Kris and the many interns she has working in her studio.

Below, is a shot I took during my time with Lois in her New York Studio. I love it.

I’ve learnt to slow the process down when shooting dancers. I’ve always let the process set its own pace rather that keep control, I guess in a way, I’ve been chasing movement, keeping up with the dancers and anticipating their next move rather than breaking that process down and concentrating on specifics.

I’ve taken on board Lois’ method of working, her attention to detail and can see how that can help my own professional practice, particularly when shooting in urban areas of cities rather than in a studio.

Having never been the kind of photographer that wants my work to be like someone else’s,  Lois’ images have defined her career and I’m still trying to define mine.  I have a long way to go before I’m happy to be defined. When learning your craft, and perfecting your art, you never want to peak too early. The constant learning, the tweaking here and there is what keeps my interest and pushes my own boundaries.

Thank you Lois for a fabulous weekend!

I can’t wait to get back home, see my family! and continue developing these ideas.

Enjoy!

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One of my shots taken at Lois Greenfield’s workshop NYC, 2012.

If You Go Down To The Woods Today…

Personal

…or… maybe if you did in November…you’d of found me & my kids in there planning a great surprise.

Every year (for Christmas) I take my boys away for a photo-shoot. I then create four books from the images; one for Nana Anna -my mum, one for Nana Ali- my mother in law, one for Nana Sticks- their great grandmother and finally one for Nad- their amazing Dad.

I’m told its the gift they all most look forward to.

Here is a small selection of my favourate images from that shoot. I will warn you, my kids are incredibly cute.

Enjoy x

Happy Birthday To Me…

Personal

…Yay! I love birthdays, especially my own.
I turned 34 today which was a little depressing however my boys made sure I was spoilt beautifully.

It’s also been the first day in about 3 weeks that I’ve actually felt ok. Some unknown viral infection hit me hard as well as a severe tooth ache; which resulted in an extraction yesterday (ouch!!!).

Today however, was filled with lots of my favourite things; breakfast in bed, lunch at my favourite restaurant (the Waterloo, Newport) with my favourite man (Nad), a gin & tonic, spa treatments, chocolate, champagne and many more gifts.

I’ll be back in the studio tomorrow to deal with the mountain of emails, enquiries & orders etc…but before work resumes I wanted to share a few images from today’s birthday treats.

Enjoy x

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The constant hunt

Personal

Awake at silly o’clock, My family still sleeps.  I’m sat on the cold damp decking in my garden cwtching a cup of tea and have my favorite blanket wrapped tightly around me. I sit in silence and listen to the sound of the world waking up. Its all very inspiring and mornings like this do make me smile. But as the day begins and the daily routine kicks in I do find it hard to stay inspired.

I can’t always slip from reality or spend hours meeting new and old friends, pouring over ideas, wondering around the NPG, discovering old photography books in libraries, taking random trips to a deserted beach, and writing….I do miss writing about stuff.

My constant hunt for inspiration continues throughout my day. I now find it in everything that wraps itself around me. My kids, my husband, my life, my work, my friends, my clients, my world.

I also like to watch inanimate things.  Its very odd (I know) but when my work revolves around people; I love the fact there are things around me, never moving or never speaking. My old school reports would state “she is a chatterbox with a tendency to daydream” I loved that too.

As cheesy as this sounds (and those that know me well, know how much I hate cheese) Love is a great inspiration to me. Being a hopeless romantic and working with so many couples in love is always a treat. Engagment shoots give me such an insight into a relationship, how they interact with eachother, the connection they have, the sheer excitement they share at the thought of spending the rest of their days together. You can’t help but get lost amounsgst all this and share the enthusiasm as well as start looking at your own life, your own love, family and dreams.

On the flip side of it all I’ve also experienced friends & family falling out of love, having their hearts broken, the realization that the person they’d hoped they would spend the rest of their life with was not in love with them.

There is nothing worse than unrequented love.  Its like another friend of mine says, “its the worse kind of love”. Its the only part I don’t photograph. Taking advantage of somebody’s misfortune (in my opinion) is morally wrong which is why I guess, my work revolves around such positive events. The only misfortune I do capture, is what goes on in my own life. Its a reminder to myself that I place in a folder on my desktop. We all experience a loss of some kind of love throughout our lives.  I know I have (will save that for my autobiography, if ever I write one).

My hopes and dreams also inspire me. There is still so many things for me to do. For example, I always wanted to live in New York, buy a loft apartment and lock myself away and just paint huge canvas’ as well as have a studio for shoots. I fell in love with the idea of become part of that exciting art world. However, the reality was I fell in love with someone else. He changed my world, my plan, my direction and I couldn’t bear to leave him, so I stayed and adapted my plans.

Then came our first child, our marriage and a second child. Now its time for me to pick up my other dreams and develop my career on my own terms. Controlling the direction and having the creative freedom to perfect your own craft is something anyone chasing a dream should give themselves.  I may never move my family to New York but there’s no reason why I can’t hire a loft apartment for a few weeks and live out that original dream hey?

An old friend once told me “The Journey is the Destination” (a quote he borrows from Dan Aldon). He lives by it. At first I didn’t like it. I used to think the idea of it made reaching my goal uneventful. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how right it is. I never dream of winning the lottery, being famous and living happily ever after. I do love chasing a dream and I’m now learning to enjoy every step towards it. Its proving the best inspiration so far and for that, I thank you (you know who you are).

I totally believe that you can have anything you want in this life if you really, REALLY want it. You just have to take those chances, understand it may not happen straight away, let go of the comfort blanket and let the wind and rain knock you about (it really does feel good). There is nothing worse in life than growing older and wishing you tried, said, did, all those things you dreamed about.

Anyhow, enough about my morning ramblings. I can hear little feet running around the house.  My kids are awake and my day is about to begin.

Enjoy x

Happy Anniversary Nad!

Personal

Having photographed so many weddings this year (nearly 40 eek!) I spent this afternoon looking back at my own. My husband (Nad) and I met in our final year of university (12years ago) and we’ve been together ever since. Tomorrow we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Hurray!!!

I remember it being incredibly hard to find a photographer who’s style I liked. In the end I chose a documentary photographer, Neil Weekes. He never specialized in weddings but I liked his informal approach.

Below is an open letter to my amazing husband:

Dear Nad,

5 years ago today was the day before our wedding.

I remember I’d just picked up my wedding dress after some last minute alterations and was making my way to the hotel. Your sister was walking up and down the hotel corridor at 11pm having squeezed her size 6 feet into my size 5 wedding shoes in a bid to stretch them for me after I said they’re still a bit tight. What a legend!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from our wedding day.


I just wanted to say, thank you for putting up with me! The last 12yrs have been so much fun and I love you dearly. I know i’m not the easiest person to live with (and nether are you lol) but you’ve been my rock and I love you so much for supporting me while I take this journey with my work. You humour me with my crazy ideas, keep my feet on the ground and although you do get a little grumpy when I come home late from the studio (which is pretty much most nights at present) I know its only because you want me home safe and to cwtch up with on the sofa.

This year has been a tough one for us but the great thing about our marriage is that we just deal with it and smile. Marriage is so important to us both, I love that we ride the bad times together because when the good times come along, its amazing!

We make great babies! and maybe one day soon we’ll have another. Whoever says marriage is easy is lying. I think what makes a good marriage is learning to understand your other half,  giving them the space they need to grow and ultimately loving them for who they are (bad habits and all). You do this brilliantly and for that, I will love you always.

Happy anniversay babe. I love you so much

Maria x