As our second featured photographer please meet Maria Mirage, fantasy photographer living near London, UK. Maria work is very inspiring, unique and we highly recommend reading more about her.
Please introduce yourself
I am Maria Mirage, photographer inspired by fairy tales and Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
I love create dark whimsical romantic pictures with textured look, dominated by strong colors. My goal is find a speck of magic in every woman and turn it to bonfire to light a beautiful vessel of human body from within. I am glad I can provide women opportunity to turn their dreams into reality, step into wonderland with me to really cherish their beauty and femininity.
Pictured: Self-portrait by Maria Mirage
I am very connected with nature and do my photography only outdoor with natural light, I even converted my back garden into my studio with allow me create illusion of outdoor but give my models comfortable environment.
I can create enchanted forest with fog machine. I even learned to create "magical lake" out of pond liner and boxes so I can do all my water photography in my garden.
To be able transform people into fairy personages for many years I am collecting costumes, I am also a designer so I making costumes and accessories. I have very hand-on approach I glue, sew costumes, and creating decoration for my garden. Car-boots, charity shops and craft stores are places where I get very inspired. It feel good to give things second life, to re-birth.
Model: Jessica Megan, behind the scene picture taken by filmmaker Richard Wakefield
I live in small village in UK surrounded by forests, it is very close to London and have broadband so I feel connected to the world but it still very calm and special place. My family include husband, son and three black cats.
How did you get started with photography?
I have been drawn to the visual side of life for as long as I can remember. In my first essay in school “What I want to be when I grow up?” I wrote that I wanted to be a science fiction painter. I wanted to paint a purple thunderstorm raging over an alien jungle under two moons.
My painting was full of mermaids with green hair and eyes guarding treasures, green jungles full of exquisitely beautiful flowers. I was confident in my choice until in time I realized I am not good at painting. There seemed no way to extract all these beautiful and bizarre paintings out of my mind and put them onto a piece of paper.
I tried different ways of expressing myself including body-art, but nothing was filling the void until I start doing photography. Photography is my substitution for painting. I can channel my creative side but not through the paint brushes but lens and Photoshop.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage, model: Mermaid Kalynn, makeup: Naomi Barker
Over more than 20 years I explore different sides of photography until I come back to my true vocation fairy and fantasy photography. Last a few years I even start doing mermaid photography which remind me my old painting, but now I can breath life into my dreams and make other people dreams come true.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage, model: Shaleema Burroughs, makeup: Haus of Sinister
What is your #REASONTOPRINT?
There are two main reasons for me to print; personal and business;
Personally I love to see my work in print, ability to touch it, look at different light, play with it like combine it with other decorations on my wall.
It make my art more real and make me feel like a real artist. Seeing my prints around me keep inspiring me and lift me up in difficult time, I feel that I give life to something beautiful and artwork start having own life by itself.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage, model: Karina Karaulova, makeup: Naomi Barker - 8x10 Triplex Classic C15 Leatherette
There are also very strong business reasons. Printed artwork changing other people opinion about my art, in modern word we are bombarded with thousandth of pictures everyday. But how many of this pictures we would want to look everyday and put in wall?
When a good quality picture is professionally printed it make person to stop and think about it.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage, Model: Molly Mae
I love to take my books with me on events and I always have a lot of samples in the studio. It help people to imagine own pictures as luxurious album, print on the wall or box with the prints. I love the principle "Show don't tell", I let my art speak for me.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage - 12x12 Photo Album Pro in G2 Leatherette with AP9 cover Acrylic finish.
What business tip/advice would you give to other photographers?
I believe the most necessary thing is to be truthful to yourself to be able to see your own strengths and weaknesses. Do not try to do everything at once, you must know what your product or service is, and be confident in putting a price tag on it which reflects your belief in its value
Keeping healthy balance between self-confidence and open mind is important as well. Every artist on his/her way experienced a lot of negativity, don't let haters or people who putting you down get to you. However it is good to receive constructive critique and keep moving and improving.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage, model: Gemma Louise Williams, assistance: Samantha Siren
Be daring and inventive and believe in yourself and many thing will became possible. I have let myself believe for years that to design costume and props I have to have some designer education. But eventually I picked up glue gun, wire, nail varnish and scissors and start creating. I don't think I will ever stop. I create gorgeous mermaid crowns and fairy queens flower crowns which make women feel special. If you like to achieve something, don't wait - take a first step even it is small step!
Start taking self-portraits as strangely as it sounds. It will definitely sharpen your skills as it twice more difficult than taking other people portraits. You are became responsible for everything. As well being a model will make you understand and empathize with models better and as result you can direct them better in posing. I have done a lot of modelling also and it was great way to learn from other photographers.
Pictured: Artwork by Maria Mirage, model: Mbalenhle Aretha Madi, assistants: Jesse Ayertey, Emily Sirene, Peter Forbes, tail: Magictail
Post cover, model: Natasha Felix
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