“I still don’t know who Maria is as a photographer and I’m not striving to be original or famous… I photograph because I love it and I hope that’s who Maria is for those who don’t know me.” Maria Rita is the artist that I want to present to you today. She’s a young photographer from Portugal currently living and working in London and to me she’s one of the most promising young Portuguese photographers or as I usually say – new, talented young blood. And just like with a camera in hand we try to portrait her with our interview…
Whenever I talk to young photographers, usually from Portugal, your name always comes up. Do you know the reason, for that Maria?! What makes you so unique that makes your co-workers always refer to you? Who is Maria for those who do not know you?
That really is a surprise for me. I mainly use social networks and my website to share my work, but internet is such a huge world that you never know how many people you actually reach or what people think. I do believe that every photographer is unique and I really think that our ‘vision’ is made from life experiences and influences pretty much like your personality so, what makes my work unique is me, exactly like anyone else. I still don’t know who Maria is as a photographer and I’m not striving to be original or famous… I photograph because I love it and I hope that’s who Maria is for those who don’t know me.
How did the world of photography show up in your life?
Photography showed up in my life when I was six and my father gave me a point and shoot camera. I would take it everywhere and photograph everything (except people because I was always very shy). I was very disappointed when I lost it a few years later and I only started shooting again when I was eighteen, always analogic, until I started studying fashion and got interested in fashion photography. Now I usually say that I am a bi-polar photographer. I photograph my life in analogic as a memory extension, something I can use to remember how things were, how I was, and I photograph fashion mostly in digital to explore a more creative side of photography.
As I know, you are studying in London. Portugal was replaced or is there a possibility of you getting back to your hometown?
I came to London to work. That doesn’t mean I won’t be studying anymore because London is a world of opportunities and I definitely want to make workshops and probably a BA in fashion photography, but for now I’m working as a retoucher and learning a lot. Portugal can never be replaced, home can never be replaced. Ideally I would work in Portugal and travel for short periods, either to learn more, work or just be inspired, but unfortunately at the moment most young people have to move abroad and I needed to work somewhere else where I could learn and improve. I am sure I’ll be back when the time is right, just don’t know how long it is going to take.
How do you see the photography scene in Portugal?
Photography in Portugal is a lot like everywhere else, but in a smaller scale. It is a very strict world and you end up seeing the same names everywhere. Portugal has some really good photographers and I’m glad to see that lately some young photographers are getting bigger and publishing a lot more. It takes time and a lot of effort, but I guess that’s how photography works everywhere.
I know you’ve done some work for magazines such as CHAOS and Parq. How or what would be your dream magazine in which you could expose your work?
I was lucky to have my work published in some magazines so far. I guess the online magazines now make it much easier to share your work. I buy a lot of fashion magazines every month and it would be impossible to pick just one. I can tell you that Vogue is not one of my dream magazines. I recognize its importance but I’d like to have the opportunity to publish my work in a magazine that is more visual rather than one with so many articles.
I’m completely in love with your work. So tell me, what is your secret or is it just the fact that you are young, deeply in love with photography and living in London? Is this the formula to win it?
There is no secret really, just a lot of love for photography and probably the fact of being young or at least feeling young. Living in London is not an influence yet, I feel much more inspired by Portugal, specially because I have always been deeply in love with the ocean and I include it in my work everytime I can. I try not to photograph because I have to. I like to be able to work with a team that I trust and to do it everytime I feel like it, mostly because I love it and feel the need to. It has become more of an addiction, something that I need in order to feel good.
Do you feel that you have to pay with your heart to achieve your goals or nearly pay for your own work?
I don’t consider that I have to pay with my heart. I always work from the heart and that is either to achieve goals or to make personal pictures to my own archive. It’s not because I have to, it’s because it is where my photography begins. If we are talking about achieving goals as a photographer I do agree that most of the times you have to pay for your own work for sure. I usually photograph for my portfolio and that requires an investment of time and money. Even if the images end up being published most magazines won’t pay you for them. Unless you work for specific brands or advertising, photography is not that profitable, but then again, I do it because I love it and if sometimes I have to pay to achieve the image I want and imagined, then so be it.
If you had to choose just one person with whom could work for the rest of your life, who would be the privileged?
That is impossible to answer. The way I see it photography lives from diversity and that means that you have to try and work with different people all the time, to learn from them and have different results. There are so many people I’d like to work with, but none of them for the rest of my life.
Thank you for the interview and challenging questions. maria.
Interview by Ana Rita d’Almeida