Maya Fent (@__myalive__) has an incredible eye for photography. Regardless of what she is photographing, she always captures a lovely and fantastical perspective that consistently inspires us. Her edits always leave us with whimsical sentiments and draw us back to a time where we viewed all things with awe. She was kind enough to spend a bit of time chatting with us about her life and photography. Read along! My Name is Maya but they also call me Mya. I’m Swiss and living near Zürich with my crazy big love, @eljacker_. After art school and a sports and dance education, I am now working as a social worker, which I am very happy with.
I grew up surrounded by nature - free and wild in my mind - and nature is still the place where I feel most at home. I love good conversations that cause me to think, to smile or to share thoughts. I love the laughter of children - which for me is the most honest thing in the world - and I’m totally addicted to coffee.
When I feel passionate about something I get lost in it - like in photography. Ever since I can remember, a camera has had this effect on me. Taking pictures and editing them calms my mind.
How did you first get in to taking pictures?
Well, my first pictures I took at a young age. In the beginning I was more curious about how a camera works than concerned about how to make beautiful pictures. My father taught me all about aperture, shutter speed and how to load film. Later, as I entered in to art school, I became passionately addicted to photography and to working in the dark room. I had an old Minolta with a nice wide angle lens. I loved it and everywhere I went I had it with me.
Do you still shoot with film?
I don’t shoot with film anymore unfortunately. I stopped when I no longer had access to a darkroom. This was about the time that I bought my first digital camera.
Then I also started to discover all of the possibilities of editing pictures with my iPhone. That’s how I first discovered Instagram. At first I thought it was just another editing app. It’s funny, I remember being a bit disappointed that it wasn’t. But then I began to love it! Finding inspiration, sharing a passion and meeting so many great and wonderful people - I may have spent a bit too much of my time on Instagram. So I took a break for a year and now I’ve started new with a better equilibrium.
You mentioned that you took a break from Instagram for a year. What has been your goal since returning?
I don’t have any hopes of accomplishing anything with Instagram. I make prints for myself and for my family and friends. If there was a possibility of exhibiting my photos from Instagram that would of course make me very happy. But I'm not looking at that as a goal.
For me it is a hobby. Something fun to do. I love to be inspired by all of the others and to share my own perspective with them. Hearing that someone likes or really loves what I do makes me so happy. I really do appreciate all of the time and thoughtfulness that people give to look, like or comment on my pictures. This interaction of being inspired and inspiring others is something wonderful and powerful and it gives me motivation and new ideas going forward.
You shoot a broad range of subjects. What is your favorite type of subject to photograph?
I always think my feed is a bit of chaos. Maybe less so since I am photographing nature and macro stuff. I cannot follow a straight line. I’m inspired by many different kinds of subjects. I love streets as much as I love to shoot in nature.
In the end I can say that my favorite thing is the feeling I have while I take pictures. That is the most important thing for me. The feeling you get when you forget everything around you while shooting. This is a great sensation that I hope that I can pass on to the viewer. That the viewer can feel something when they look at my photographs. So I guess you could say that my favorite subject is the one that evokes feeling in the viewer.
Do you have a favorite photograph that you’ve captured?
A favorite photograph I have captured is really hard to find. Perhaps the photograph of the little girl looking out of a train window. I created a different background in Photoshop and edited it in Mextures. I took it in Milano with my iPhone. I think I like it so much because it makes me happy and it reminds me of the rare and magic moment that I took it.
What does your editing process usually look like?
Usually I start in Lightroom when editing my pictures. It’s great for working on tones and colors, shadows, light and fade. Lightroom is where I start to direct the mood of my photos. Then I move the image to my iPhone to add the finishing touches.
I have many different apps, but Mextures is still my favorite. Most of my landscape shots are edited with Mextures. I usually start with my saved formulas to see if any of them fit that particular image. If I select one of my formulas I’ll work on it a bit or I’ll just start fresh. I love the Vintage Gradients and the Landscape Enhance textures. With those overlays I can give my pictures more depth and also fix my tones. The new Atmospheric textures are some of my favorites too. I could play with those for hours changing light and color. It`s amazing to have the ability to create a new atmosphere in your image. When I make a picture more dark I definitely use the Emulsion or the Grit and Grain overlays.
With Mextures I appreciate all of the different opportunities I have with all of the blending modes and adjustments. I also think that Mextures is the best way to make your images more sharp and I love that - particularly for my macro shots.
Would you mind sharing a few of your formulas with the mextures crowd?
With pleasure! Here are four:
Miniature - NIPSMQM - This one is nice if you want your picture to look like a painting. It gives your image fade and some soft grey tones.
Violet - PSZZJEI - This one adds a fairytale mood.
Lake Mood - KHSLWWX - This formula is great for creating an underwater feeling.
Summer Evenings - BFELDJU - This one makes your picture very faded and gives some orange and red tones. It’s nice to use if you want a sunset or summer evening feeling.
How would you describe your current photographic style?
I’ve never really thought about my style in photography. Honestly, I’m not sure if I can say that I have one. I just follow what inspires me. A while ago I started to take macros and nature shots which I really love to do and I changed my editing process as well. So maybe I can say that I’m on my way to finding my style.
I really love to get in to this little world through my own perspective. It is so quiet and full of magic. You just turn your camera around a bit or play with the focus and you find a completely fresh view.
Playing with focus is something that inspires me at the moment. It’s fantastic what you can create through shifting the focus of your camera. I came to this kind of photography when I moved away from the city where I lived and in to a small village closer to nature. There’s a big nature reserve behind our house and I can’t resist taking pictures there.
Who are the people that have been your biggest inspirations thus far?
There are so many people who inspire me:
@eljacker_ - He inspires me in my daily life. He supports and gives me strength for my passion. He also opened my eyes to tones and taught me all about them. He has really pushed me forward in my photography in such a wonderful way.
@_little.wings_ - She really inspired me to go out in to nature and shoot macros. The magical adventures she speaks of through her work are something very special to me. They remind me of the books from my childhood.
I love the vibes in @stephpaxton’s feed and I think she does an amazing job editing with Mextures.
Since I discovered the work of @pickledgoose I can't get enough of her art. She inspires me to see the details.
I also want to mention @bobbimac. He is truly a fog-catcher and photographs landscapes in such an amazing and inspiring way.
I could mention so many more but these are the people who come to my mind right now.
Please have a look at more of Maya’s phenomenal work here!