Let’s talk about Maria.  

Interview by Pam Nichols about family photography and other things

The first thing that stands out to me is your hair. What’s with the red streak?

I don’t see the point of dying hair unless it’s interesting! Your hair should be fun – it’s only hair!

So is the red not here for good then?

No, it’s a pain sometimes because it rules out wearing certain colours. When my daughter got married though I took my dress in and got the hairdresser to match the colour!

(Photo?)

 

 

And you’re a people person, that’s obvious. Is that why family photography suits you so well?

Yes, it’s been a natural progression for me. I’m a mum and whilst raising my family I was the memory keeper. Now that my children have grown up that role seems even more valuable. To me, it’s important to capture moments, to remember the beauty of children and their relationships for example. You think you’ll remember it forever but you don’t, your memories get blurred, and relationships change too over time.

Is photography quite an emotional thing for you then?

Yes, and when you see images twenty years later, you have different emotions about them, and they increase in valuable not only to you but to the whole family and generations to come.

 

Is photography your dream job?

Being a travel/ fashion photographer would be my dream job, combined with being some kind of Mother Theresa type person saving the world and raising awareness of certain issues. I’d love to be a painter too, or to work with mixed media, and other arty stuff.

 

OK let’s do some quick questions, just to get to know you. (photos for each couple of questions?)

What is your favourite season?

Autumn. I love the colours, and also we got married in the Autumn.

 

Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?

It depends on the time of the month.

 

What kind of music do you like?

Lyric-driven music, like Mumford and Sons or the Civil Wars

 

Do you like to be planned or spontaneous?

It depends what I’m planning – if it’s dinner or a holiday, then I love planning but if it’s forms and admin then not so much…

 

I know you are in to travelling in a big way. Where would you like to visit?

Japan is on the top of my list followed by Petra and South America, of course now my daughter lives in Dubaievery trip needs to stop off there?

 

How do you relax?

I eat, I drink, and I watch movies, cuddled up on the sofa with my hubby and of course hang out with my friends.

 

And what are your favourite films?

‘Last of the Mohicans’ because how did Daniel Day Lewis make himself SO good looking? And last year I loved ‘Crazy Stupid Love’. It wasn’t difficult to see how Ryan Gosling made himself so good looking!

 

And what’s your favourite snack for film-viewing?

‘Skinny Cow’ ice-lollies, which I dip in melted dark chocolate.

I see. So wouldn’t it more accurate to just call them ‘Cow’ lollies? We do need to talk about food Maria, if we’re talking about you. It is alleged that you like to photograph your food don’t you? Why is that?

It’s just that I take so much effort to present it; I want to preserve how good it looks. Even if I make a sandwich just for myself I think it’s a shame nobody else gets to see it so I photograph it.

Have you always done this?

No. It started because of doing weight watchers, and it was too long to write down what I was eating so I photographed it instead.

Is that with your proper full-on photography kit? Is it all shiny umbrellas and tripods before you sit down to eat?!

No, just my iPhone camera. I love it! It has got me back in the habit of taking little snaps of life rather than carrying lenses around. It has got me back in touch with the spontaneous moments.

You’re very ‘show and tell’ as a person aren’t you?

Yes, my whole life is ‘show and tell’.  That’s why being a photographer suits me so well.

 

What is your most precious possession?

My iPad, with its’ lime green soft cover.

Is that what you’d take to a desert island? Actually you don’t really do desert islands do you….?

I wouldn’t cope very well. I think I’d have to take a tooth brush as I am an avid tooth brusher.  And I’d have to find someone or something to talk to.

 

I’d need decent tea bags. Are you a tea or coffee person?

Coffee, with coffee mate so it doesn’t get cold. I’m quite fussy about coffee.

Is there anything else that you’re fussy about?

Where to start… I don’t like hard beds. I don’t like chairs that are too soft or too deep because my legs can’t touch the ground! I don’t like high heels as they hurt my feet but I don’t like flat shoes as they aggravate my back. I don’t like being too hot, but being too cold makes me really miserable, and I can’t stand greasy food or badly-presented food. I don’t like carrying bags with handles that are too long or short….

OK that’s a lot of things. What is your pet peeve of them all?

I really hate swearing, in movies or in books, I think I could give my life to campaigning against that.

Let’s turn this into a positive point about you – you like things perfect so this must mean you strive for fantastic results in your photographic work?

Yes, I am always trying to create something original. And I value people being comfortable, so if somebody’s looking uncomfortable I can’t stand it. What comes up in clients’ feedback is that they felt at ease, and I suppose that’s because I notice small things – the temperature, the colour, the feelings.

 

So in your perfect scenario, who would you be photographing?

Bruce Parry, the guy who filmed “Tribe” and went to Antarctica.

 

And you’d invite him to your ideal dinner party?

Yes, or I’d be stranded with him ideally.

 

Who else would be round the table? Who would you like to talk to?

CS Lewis. I loved his book because he’s an amazing intellect, and also the way he used imagery in his books, it really helped my faith. I think it’s an amazing gift to be able to explain Christian truth in an accessible way like that.

Oh and the couple from film night just love to chat to them.

 

 

(photo of child)

What were you like as a child Maria?

I was loud. I was always standing on my head because I wanted to be a gymnast.

 

Me too. Olga Corbett. And what was the naughtiest thing you did?

(sharp intake of breath…) OK I’ll start with the third or fourth naughtiest. I slept in the school swimming pool overnight. I climbed over the wall and camped out overnight. I’ve stolen traffic cones…. I’ve put snails through letter boxes…

 

OK let’s move on. Were there any clues that you would not be a gymnast after all, but go on to be an award-winning photographer?

I went to a special school (not that sort of special). We did projects – oil painting with the head teacher at lunchtime, meditating in the quiet corner, growing things in the garden, writing poetry, and making dodecahedrons with paper…

 

It sounds amazing! Was it a hotbed of art and romance?

Oh yes. When I was about 11 I had a boyfriend, Neil, who would sing to me with his guitar in the quiet corner and I’ve always remembered the lyrics from his cabbage song “The leaves I give to others but the heart I give to you…”

Ahh, you’re obviously a romantic. Staying married for 25 years is no mean feat. What is your top tip for making marriage work?

Train up your partner.

 

You always have flowers in the hall, are they anything to do with it?

Well I suggested Terry buy them every week because if not then I would buy them myself, so he may as well get the glory for it! Plus flowers are my favourite thing to photograph apart from people. (photo)