How do I even start?? Well, I had liked Michael+Carina’s page a couple months ago, and they had posted a welcome post on my wall, which I thought was awesome and super personal. I loved it! So one day I got the idea that, “Hey, it’d be super fun to road trip down to Williamsburg this weekend!” So I messaged Michael+Carina, and they said they’d LOVE to hang out, so we made plans for the next Sunday. Okay, so I’m a big fan of networking, and I love it even more when fellow photographers are so AWESOME!! Let me tell you, I’ve never met a more engaging, welcome and fun pair! We immediately hit it off, and it was great to get them out from behind the camera! (Photographers know that this can be a challenge!!) We hung out, shot some photos in the beautiful golden light, had dinner and enjoyed some holiday fireworks. I learned SO much from them! Especially about Germany, where Carina is originally from, and where Michael has lived for a good few years. I’m a huge fan of learning firsthand about other countries, plus Carina’s accent is just completely adorable. Make sure you click the links below to check out their work-it’s as stunning as they are. They also insisted on taking some shots of me, and I just adored them, so now they’re my profile pictures on pretty much all of my social networking outletsGah! I cannot wait to shoot with them again!
How did you get into photography in the first place?
M: Oh man… is it too cliche’ to say I’ve always been into art, drawing, taking pictures? Because I have been. Somewhere in my mom’s attics are about forty-eleven boxes filled with sketchbooks and photos of elaborate toy set-ups taken on those Kodak throw-away cameras from the drug store. I started dabbling in photography in 2006-2007 in college when the dean gave me a camera and asked me to photograph events for the college bulletin board. Oh man. It was horrible. I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was fun. When I moved to Europe in 2008 with my beautiful pen-pal turned wifey, I found work at a private bilingual school as an English teacher. We were blessed enough to live smack dab in Munich, which is right in the center of Europe, so it wasn’t terribly expensive to travel to the great cities of the Old World: Rome, Paris, London, Athens.. even spent some time in Israel, Egypt and the Middle East. This was something I had always wanted to do (who doesn’t?) and wanted to hold on to every second of it. In Germany, everyone I knew traveled. In my hometown, I knew only of people who dreamed of doing it or those who could but had no desire to. I had to document it, so I started taking pictures. Then I started taking pictures of our cats. Then of our neighbors. Then of the kids at the school where I taught. One day a mother came up to me and complimented me on my photos. Gave me a few pointers. Invited me to play with her camera. Taught me a lot, and inspired me more. I didn’t know it at first, but she turned out to be an internationally respected, award-winning photographer, Marion Hogl. She inspired me to really pursue the passion that had taken up my mind at work, at meals, in my freetime, that kept me up at night.
C: Michael, my hubby, was into photography first. I got sucked into it while he was learning and improving. I went from a “better” point and shoot to a mirrorless Sony, a Canon 60D and finally the mighty 5D Mark II – all within half a year or so. It went from hobby to passion and I finally started to believe that I might be good at it.
Who are some people you consider your biggest inspirations?!
M: Whoa. Another can of worms. I’m inspired by photographers from a lot of different genres. I can’t limit my love of photography just to the photos that I shoot.
Annie Leibowitz, especially her documentary work and what she has done since going digital. I’ve heard she isn’t afraid of falling love with whatever it is she is photographing. That must be her secret. Sally Mann is certainly one. Her photos are timeless and push boundaries without actually trying to. Who else, the famous ones, Diane Arbus, Joel Myerowitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson… I could look at the work of Magnum photographers all day. The fantastical ones – Brooke Shaden, Joel Robinson, Sophia Ann-Loreth. Then the new ones – Ryan Brenizer, Jose Villa, Sam Hurd, Elizabeth Messina. Carmen and Ingo Photography are a fantastic husband-wife team in Munich that are just crazy good. I also love paintings – I love the color palette of the 19th Century British Pre-Raphaelite painter John Waterhouse.
When it comes down to it, the photographers that influence most influence my work are Chris Orwig, Elisabeth Messina, and Emily Soto.
C: Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elizabeth Messina and my awesome husband Michael inspire me most. Their work is unique and seems effortless. I cannot get enough of them
What is your absolute favorite thing to shoot?
M: Well, I love to shoot weddings (in case you didn’t notice). Modern wedding photography represents a perfect blending of two genres of photography – photojournalism and fine art and/or lifestyle portraiture. Two aspects of photography I really enjoy. I also like to just make portraits of people. Some of my best images have been portraits. And every once in a while, I get back to my artistic roots and do something conceptual just for fun. It’s fantastic.
C: I am in love with couples. Couple Portraits, Engagement Sessions, Weddings – that’s my passion. Capturing real emotions is what it’s all about.
Got any guilty pleasures?
M: Traveling. Writing. Drawing. Learning. And Skyrim. And Sid Meier’s Civilization.
C: I am an absolute food lover – a life without sushi, candies and mountains of potatoes is unthinkable for me!!! Oh and…I am nuts about dogs. Have I mentioned that I take my little Chihuahua August almost everywhere I go? Yes, he has doggie clothes, a dog purse and gets to sleep in my arms
Any secrets you’ve discovered while pursuing photography?
M: About photography itself? Know your camera, learn the mechanics of it, but more importantly than that, learn to look for light. Photography is all about light. Photos, or phos, literally means light in Greek. Photography is capturing that light and using it to convey a story. Look for light. Experiment with light and (whether natural, ambient, or strobe) and it will always take your images to the next level.
C: The passion for photography will take you places you’ve never even dreamed of.
Got any tips for aspiring young photographers?
M: You mean like me? Haha! I’m just 24, remember?
Stay true to what you love about photography. It’s so easy to get distracted about doing the latest thing, commercializing yourself, buying all the latest gear, yadayada. Not saying some of that isn’t important. Some parts of those things are. Just don’t let it get in between you and what you love about photography.
I’ve also had a lot of people support us and encourage us, and support me (especially my wife), but I’ve also had a lot of people discourage me/us. Don’t let it get you down. Set a goal for yourself and accomplish it as if failure were not an option. And if you do fail, try again.
C: Think twice. It’s a life changing decision.. But if you realize you cannot live without it, do everything to pursue it.
What is one big thing you hope to accomplish in the future?
M: Other than house and kids? And meeting some of my favorite photographers? I would like to keep doing what I am doing now and supporting myself and my family from it. I love it and can’t ever imagine doing anything else. More than that, I’d like to inspire other people to do the same. I mean, when I think of where I came from, and some of the challenges I faced growing up in a poor household with a single mother who worked three jobs… I never thought I’d have done the things I’ve done in 42 years, much less 24. But I didn’t do it all myself. Other people helped a long the way, inspired me, pushed me. If I can inspire someone else to do the same, to really accomplish something, that would be pretty cool.
C: Sorry, there are two things I am dreaming about every day: 1. Plenty of wedding inquiries all year long 2. One of my pictures on the cover of a big magazine. Man, I would be one happy lady!
“I’m gonna take a picture of you taking a picture of me!”
This is August, and he is ABSOLUTELY precious!!