Maria Baoli…without any artificially feelings

Edited by Odeta Catana, photography editor

Photos of Maria Baoli


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Could you please tell us a little more about yourself. Where do you live?

I live in Brussels, Belgium, which is pretty small and gives the impression of being a multicultural village. Taking the tramway is like travelling all around the world. 

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How did you start taking pictures? Usually there is always the old story of the boy who finds his grandfather’s camera, did that happen to you as well or not?

My mom offered me a Nikon when I was 9 years old but I didn’t use it that much. As a child, I was always very much in my fantasy world. Somehow, painting became a way to grow up, to face reality and to play. Later on my passion for cinema and theater started to increase so I bought a mini DV camera and got involved in an amateur theater company. Two years ago I had an overwhelming necessity of going beyond and make it tangible so I sign up in a darkroom course. I needed to create something with my hands and drawing was not as fulfilling and fast as  photography. I see it as a natural evolution as all these fields are related to the visual language.

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Where does your inspiration comes from?

The Nature, light, Google maps (satellite view), my family and friends inspire me every day . I find lots of treasures on bookstores and thrift shops. Otherwise I visit museums and galleries and check out exhibitions. I also buy magazines –COS, Dazed & Confused and I-D are among my favourites! Internet is also a great source for inspiration. I love reading interviews with my favourite artists and write down their references.

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In a portrait, what is important for you?

I would say that a portrait should speak by itself whether it tells a story or it has a hint of mystery. Moreover, it should go beyond the description of the physiognomy and psychical specificity of an individual. If it catches the gaze of the viewer for more than 30 seconds then it’s a good sign.

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What kind of relationship do you have with your subject when you shoot?

Some of my pictures are conceived beforehand or directly during work so the subjects that I shoot are primarily my closest friends. It’s very important for me to have a close relationship to make them feel comfortable while shooting as I find particularly beautiful intimacy moments. I’m also very keen on photographing strangers in awkward circumstances.

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Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?

Photography is an on-going learning process itself. Attending a school is great to learn photography in a structured way and to meet people sharing same interests. Albeit having a visual culture and attending exhibitions to educate the gaze is equally important. Experimenting on your own and enjoy the process or result is also essential to learn how to shoot.

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What’s the photo you want to take and you never did?

I attended many festivals when I was younger and I regret not having had a camera or the interest to shoot by that time.

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What’s your photo-mission?

I would like to create images that have the power to capture your imagination and to keep your attention for more than a few seconds. I would like to transport the viewer into my universe without any artificiality feeling and let them to make up their own stories.
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Artworks by Refael Salem

Artworks by Refael Salem

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Love is in the h/air

Love is in the h/air

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