Today we’re highlighting the work of our instabuddy, @mariahalv. We’ve watched her photography and post-processing skills grow over the years and we’ve found that her images seem to always allude to something deeply soulful just out of frame. You kids know how much we love moody work! Read along to learn more about Maria and browse through her work as well!
I’m Maria and I live in Canada. Just outside of Toronto.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE WORDS OR PHRASES?
Notion. But I always forget to use it.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?
Someone as a sarcastic as me.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
IF YOU COULD BE ANY FICTIONAL CHARACTER, WHO WOULD YOU BE?
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM ALONE?
I’ve always wanted to be a drummer. I know the basics but I wish I was better.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
I first took a media arts course in high school and photography in college which included processing in a dark room, etc. (I’m showing my age). I stepped away from it for several years but always had a love for beautiful art. I started taking pictures again with my phone a few years back and that’s when I discovered Mextures. In fact, I enjoy the editing process just as much as, if not more than, the capture. I absolutely love that I can make a photo look completely different than the original with apps like Mextures. I got a DSLR camera for Christmas in 2016 but was too afraid to use it for the first 6 months. I finally started using it last summer and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, despite having no idea what I’m doing. There are sooo many numbers and settings. Haha. I pretty much set it to manual and go by looks. I’ve announced that I need a mentor several times on Instagram, but no one has stepped up to the plate. That hurts my feelings. 😟
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon pretty early on but I avoided Instagram for years. I thought it was only about food pics and selfies for young teenagers—neither of which I was interested in. I don’t like to be left behind, so I created an account in 2015 and it wasn’t until I did that I realized there was a ton of amazing photography there. It took me a while to understand (or even care about) hashtags but the idea of this vast community of photographers, amazing editors and hubs was super exciting to me. It was then that I opened my eyes for pictures to snap while doing formerly mundane things like commuting. I’m always looking for the next shot to take. It makes me look at the world very differently now. Instagram reignited my love of photography.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
It’s no secret that I love moody photography and edits. I haven’t had the easiest last few years and I’m not sure I “try” to communicate that through my work, but it definitely shows. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I love to make something as simple as a leaf or a tree look completely different than it does in its real life form.
I’m actually the biggest wimp when it comes to anything scary so perhaps this dark moody side in my photography is a way for me to control the scariness. (Except for my selfies—they’re always a bit scary)
HOW DO YOU USE MEXTURES
I use mextures to help manipulate my original photos to achieve the look I’m going for, which in general is a very moody hazy feel.
IF YOU WERE GIVING ADVICE ON HOW TO CREATE WORK SIMILAR TO YOURS, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU’D FIND MOST CRUCIAL TO SHARE?
I would advise to, for the most part, make your original darkish. If you can’t, I achieve darkness with Mextures by using a darker film like K-Porta, which is one of my favourites. A lot of my formulas include Vignette from the Landscape package, hints of colour from Vintage Gradients, Landscape, Radiance and Atmospheric packages. Some of my favourites are Vintage/Soil/Twilight from Vintage Package. Neutral Density/Vignette/Winter Skies/Citrus from the Landscape Package. If I want texture, my go to’s are Window Wash/Blueberry Peach/Mulberry from the Grunge Package or Wishing_Well/Prussian_Blue/Swamped/Rembrandt from Intensity Package and Franklin from Emulsion Package. When adjusting the look as the final step, I always tend to go a bit heavier on Fade, Contrast, Shadows and Highlights. Final touches to Sharpen and adjust Tint and Saturation. All of these little tweaks help to achieve that moody hazy feel that I love.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
I’ve always loved beautiful photography. Figuring out how to create certain looks in my own photos, is so intriguing to me. Plus, I needed a new hobby and photography, more-so editing pictures, has brought me a lot of joy. Positive feedback about my pictures makes me very happy.
IF YOU COULD TAKE CREDIT FOR ONE INSTAGRAM FEED, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?
@anna28h. I love her faded moody style.
SHARE A FEW OF THE MOST INSPIRING ACCOUNTS YOU FOLLOW?
@wecollectskies - Josh is a master at moody edits. His gallery looks amazing. He’s been a favourite of mine for years.
@mikaelipsen - is another amazing photographer that posts moody nature edits. I can always tell Mikael’s work without looking. I love his stuff.
@sevensleeper_ - Stefanie has such a delicate vibe to her shots, with beautiful blurred backgrounds and a sprinkle of femininity here and there.
@poppybarach produces the most gorgeous dark botanical photos as well as beautiful still life shots.
@driftless.visuals - Tyler posts the most picturesque small town scenes that always remind me of a greeting card or a jigsaw puzzle. He makes the driftless area of the U.S. look so gorgeous and inviting.
@life.by.linus - Linus makes the Swedish countryside look so dreamy with perfect light and detail.
@grofbd creates the most gorgeous bnw self portraits and uses light and shadows perfectly.
@meg_nlo’s gallery gives us a peak inside her life as a mother of 4. Her editing is amazing.
@sarah.silently does emotive self portraits like no other. An absolutely impeccable gallery.
@andrehohenthal - André’s use of pastel skies and nature silhouettes are so stunning. I aspire to be this good one day. His other account is equally amazing @essence_of_the_north.
See much more of Maria’s beautiful work here!