“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” – Oscar Wilde
In this series we shine a light on artists expressing their individuality, documenting what they love, working hard on their craft, and sharing it with the world.
We spoke to Auckland-based Marie Valencia about what makes her art, self described as dreamy and curated, special to her.
So, How did you get started in photography?
It sort of naturally progressed — I studied and did all kinds of art when I was younger, eventually ending up as a photographer and graphic designer. My travels definitely inspired me to share how I saw the world in all its beauty, and those special moments in between.
In your work, you use a lot of symmetry, and with a focus on creating unique colour palettes. Is your shooting method more organised or spontaneous?
Both! Yes, a lot of my work focuses on palettes, soft light and seasons — and these natural elements help inform the story I want to tell. There are little details that can only ever pop up on a spontaneous drive down a dirt road, like, for example, dust storms in the outback or unmarked poles in the middle of nowhere. And those are my favourite kind of photographs. However my work also takes me to destinations that I am more organised to shoot in. I take into account weather, mood and of course natural light when I plan for those.
What advice would you give to people trying to find their aesthetic or style?
It all starts with what you want to share, and understanding the reasons why you want to share it. Try to get a feel for what stands out to you and what you are passionate about. Be authentic and consistent and your style will eventually unfold.
How do you stay inspired? What do you do when in a creative rut?
Slow down and remind myself of the reasons why I love photography. There are days when I don’t feel like even touching a camera or editing a photo — but I end up by remembering why I do what I do, and keep pushing through it. To get myself out of a creative block I sometimes talk to other creatives, or step out and do a different medium of art (ikebana or painting, usually). Sometimes this informs my photography, and more often than not I end up shooting what I make, even just for myself.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It is so varied. Some days find me driving for miles and miles capturing stories, or foraging for perfect hillside blooms, and other days I’m sitting in front of the computer, piecing the next adventure together or sending out emails!
What's a photo you’re most proud of? Can you tell us the story behind it?
This one is under the more organised sort of shoot. It was the first time I was to see Milford Sound and I wanted to kayak its waters. A simple wish but it was a vision I’d had for a while. I partnered with Landroamer and took one of their foldable kayaks — they are called Oru Kayak — down from Auckland to Queenstown. As I was there for a job with Destination Queenstown, I only had one day and night to visit Milford Sound - and it was perfect. When we got there, it had stopped raining and it was just before blue hour. I set up the kayak and cameras and away I went. There was a stillness in the air and a moment of complete awe, paddling the waters of this magnificent natural wonder, and then capturing this fleeting moment forever.
What part of photography has been the most rewarding for you?
Getting to share the way I see the world through photography. It’s a way of expressing myself, an appreciation for the world around us and how important it is to protect it. And if I am able to get that message or story across — well that is just the most rewarding thing.