I had a cup of coffee and a quick chat to the rock chick of photography, born and bred in Pretoria. Sociable, with a cool hairstyle and tons of talent we are very proud to showcase Marina Maré’s work. She’s always been a ‘prentjie-mens’ and got her first film camera at the age of 10, taking photographs of everything that moves! Ever since then, expressing herself creatively was her way of life.

Fashion – Interiors – Photography

“It’s funny how all the little pieces of the puzzle just come together.” After school she studied to be a fashion designer and later did a course in interior decorating, then, “life happened and I found myself working in an office and being a mom.” Marina later got frustrated with the fact that she didn’t have a creative outlet and in 2004 started studying photography at the National College of Photography. It is during that very course that she fell head over heels in love with portraiture. Scraping every bit of courage she had together, she quit her job in 2007 and became a full-time photography student and ended up being a lecturer herself at CODP and Vega.

Musicians please

She’s always felt like a square peg in a round hole but later in life found herself in the arts. Besides photography, Marina loves music and feels especially comfortable in the ‘alternative scene’. Ironically enough, that is where she finds her subjects. If you are wondering how she gets them to sit for her, the answer is simple. She walks up to the musician, introduces herself and asks if they would be willing to set aside some time for her to photograph them.

Talk to the person on the other side of the lens

Before Marina starts snapping away, she sits down with her subject (camera on the tripod in front of her). Talking to them about this and that and with some time figuring out what evokes emotion within them. She will then take a few photographs and when she’s got the money shot, the shoot is over. “It is very intimidating for the person on the other side of the lens and as such you want them to feel safe and relaxed. I don’t want to get the same shot as every other photographer or photograph the image they see in the mirror. So, I wait for them to let their guard down and show emotion, even vulnerability. While at the same time not taking up a lot of their time.” Marina really likes black and white portraits particularly because it strips out all the unnecessary distractions and allows the photographer to bare a little bit of the individual’s soul.

Don’t be scared to deviate from the plan

Builders next door were going crazy when she was in the studio with Kobus De Kock Jnr (from The Black Cat Bones) and little dust particles were everywhere! When she first saw the photos she was in shock with the mere thought of all the editing it would take to remove the dust particles, which she had no control over. But later, when going through the images on the computer she was pleasantly surprised to see that the dust particles acted like magic and made the photograph better! The moral of the story; don’t be scared of deviating from the plan. Adapting to different situations and being open to plans changing, is a very important part of being a photographer.

Marina’s Gear

  • Nikon D7100 camera
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.8 film lens
  • Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 film lens
  • Hasselblad CM used with an 80mm f/2.8 lens
  • Beauty dish (used for the shoot with Kobus)
  • Soft box (used for the shoot with Francois van Coke [Fokofpolisiekar])

The work of Annie and Erwin inspires

Because of her ability to read her subject extremely well, Annie Leibovitz is one of Marina’s greatest inspirations; “I am convinced that Annie has photo fairies on set!” Then, another one of Marina’s favourite photographers for his creative, sometimes weird photos has to be Erwin Olaf, of which she especially likes his series ‘Royal Bloods’. I could not agree more, it is controversial and gives a different take on history.

Over the years she has learnt that the best feeling in the world is seeing in your clients eyes that they are truly happy with your work. We hope to share more of Marina’s beautiful portraits in the near future!