Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Her Visuals Herald Artistic Portrayals

She finds art awake in moments when expression itself captures the eye of her camera. A model's unsolicited gesture, the landing of a flight of pigeons in an old world plaza, distilled...rendering signature portrayal of beauty each unique in its depiction.

So it is with "Marianna Photography," founded in 2011 by a thirty something Polish woman who earned two Master's Degrees in Software Engineering, one from Blekinge Tekniska in Sweden; the other from Politechnika Wroclawska in Poland. Marianna went on to work a year in international business but felt a deeply rooted part of herself missing.

I ask about her greatest inspiration.  The answer speaks volumes.  Her choice to exchange a highly remunerative career for a niche in photographic art was influenced by Alan Watts, the philosopher and writer, who lived in the circa 1960s Waldo Point houseboat community in Sausalito, CA.   She supplies a link. It's by Watts and entitled "What would you do if money wasn't an object."

"What he is saying is absolutely true," she says. "They teach you all your life to run after money, but this won't give you satisfaction. You need to follow your passion to become successful."

Even when a photographic rookie, she had sufficient talent to shoot a picture included in the Finalist Category "Relations", part of Sweden's 2011 Metro Photo Competition.
"I think I just have a unique skill set," she says. "Technical skills are easy for me but at the same time I am creative and think unconventionally." And Marianna wanted a deeper level, something more than knowledge of modes of business.

She had always had an interest in photography. She bought an SLR camera about five years ago and discovered a passion she didn't realize she possessed. "It just clicked in," she says. " I have been going around everywhere with the camera and looking for amazing views, better angles, better composition, different settings and light..."

She didn't gain a certificate or degree in the field of photography. She claims she didn't take a single course. Instead, she maintains she studied the field on her  own.  She researched the internet and read books of her choosing. She molded her study to fit her own spirit of inquiry. "I believe that studying [in school] can limit your creativity,' she says. As well, friendships with other photographers, and the trade talk which ensued, helped her with lessons she valued more than any in the curricula  of institutional study.

Marianna exudes charm and self confidence. We banter during the Skype session about inconsequential matters. She's entertaining to interview, and although a beauty in her own right, although she has European flair and continental style, she's plainly down to earth. This approachable aspect musters ingredients of social skill which aid to sharpen the makings of her art.

"For me in photography the most important aspect is in the expression, the feeling," she says. "Usually those pictures are made in the moment when they [the models] don't expect to be captured...sometimes I am distracting making a joke to get them to smile."

As well traveled as Marianna is, having visited sixteen European countries from Spain to Bosnia to Ukraine, she fastened on Ecuador in South America as type and perhaps haven of second home. She lived six months in Ecuador's capital city of Quito, speaks Spanish, English and Polish, and raved about the topography of this small yet diverse country.

She currently lives in the mountains of Ecuador near Cotopaxi, where I wager a good portion of her most spectacular landscape photographs have been taken.

Marianna's photographs hurdle into viewers' sensitivities. Indeed, by force of content they must spur many a private exclamation that goes something like this...How can anyone's camera portray anything so beautifully!?!

Marianna reports not only with visuals but with writing that sometimes bring distant parts of the world close to where the reader. Her photo-reportage on Ukraine is immersive, an amalgamation of history, current conflict and compelling photographic tale. For my part, with my measure of interest in current affairs and international relations, her story on the tumult in Ukraine intrigues. I had no idea of the depth of what it has been like over there.

So yes, Marianna teaches. She teaches lessons about how to photograph, about hidden tricks of the trade. It adds usability to her website. Photographers can learn for example that, as she writes, "...there is no bad light in photography. You just need to be a little creative." She offers tips on how to use shadow or position of the model. She explains what she does to make her photos stand out in particular ways.

Anna Maria Marianna
As an artist, photographer and teacher, it's apparent to me that Marianna is offering all that she has to give not for the love of money but for the dream of finding and doing what she loves with passion.

Photos by Anna Maria Marianna

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