I still remember when I first noticed her work.
She had used her Lensbaby at a carnival and I was blown away
by her gorgeous images!
I am so honored to have the incredible Maria Manco from Maria Manco Photography
as my very first featured artist for Fantastically Flawed!
How long have you been in business
and how did you get your start in photography?
Like many, I started getting into photography when I became a mom.
After taking my son, now 3, to Portrait Innovations for his 3 month photos and spending a lot of money on run of the mill standard studio photographs,
I decided to get a dslr and teach myself.
Little did I know that naive thought would turn into a total obsession and a true passion.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
I initially started with "posed" photography - i say that in quotes because I was pretty terrible at it. Then at one newborn session I took a photo in between the posed shots of the mom holding and looking at her baby, in awe of the tiny creature in her arms, and my heart skipped a beat. In that instant I knew I needed to ditch the posing and focus on lifestyle, although at the time I didn't know that was what it was called. I think I first found Deanna McCasland - her everyday images of her kids had so much depth and told such a story - I saw what photographing children as true art looked like. From there I found a whole slew of photographers to admire - each with their own style yet still with the same base foundation of photographing the everyday in a beautiful way - Ginger Unzueta, Candy Kempsey, Suzanne Gipson, Molly Flanagan, Summer Murdock, Alain Laboile, oh I could just go on and on. There are so many people that I get inspiration from on a daily basis. One thing all these photographers have in common is they photograph from their heart - life is beautiful and imperfect and they embrace it all - the good, the bad, the happy and the sad. They do not strive to create the perfect image - they photograph what they see as they see it. Not every image may be technically perfect but every image is full of emotion. I have learned to feel more when I take a photo and to just trust the process that by staying true to myself the business/career with fall into place.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?
To just let things happen and don't try and force the scene or photo. 90% of the time those photos get tossed. I will slightly direct people if there is better light in a certain spot, but I no longer try and force connections and moments.
What does photography mean to you?
I tell people photography is my therapy. If I am feeling stressed, all i need is 10 minutes with my camera and I am back on level ground. I also feel like it has made me a better person. I appreciate the little moments/details in my life and that I am able to capture them forever. I worry less and embrace the hiccups in everyday life. Photography is my outlet and my connection to others as well. I have made so many friends this past year be they other photographers or families that I have photographed.
What is the best part about being a photographer?
I love that I am able to give my family these memories of what it felt like to be us, right now. I hope that when my kids are grown and my husband and I are old and grey,
that we can all look back on these photos and remember not just the moments,
but the feelings and the love we have for each other.
I hope my photos will help my kids remember what is was like to be little and to be loved. I also love being able to do the same for the families I photograph.
If you could shoot with any photographer in the world,
who would it be and why?
Eek - that's a really hard question! I feel like I could learn so much from so many people.
What is your favorite image you have taken to date?
Another really hard question! It's so hard to pic a favorite, I have so many that I love and that I am proud of. There is a photo of my son and husband walking hand in hand that I just love. My husband is an amazing father and whenever I look at that photo I can feel that.
How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography?
When I first started I was very technical, and slow, and I missed moments and most of my photos felt flat. Every now and then it's good to let go, forget about the rules, feel your photos instead of thinking them. These photos that I am sharing I used a lensbaby and just threw all thought out the window - not only was it fun, but I got a series of photos that I truly love (they are even hanging in my kitchen at the moment).
Maria Manco Photography
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