Featured Artist: Marie Otero
I am happy to introduce you to our featured artist this week, Marie Otero. You may remember Marie from our still-life and food photography class in March. She is a whiz with technology, her camera, and helping others understand the nuances of photography. Marie’s imagery of the human body are breathtaking; her mix of playfulness, fantasy, and fabric is fascinating and absolutely gorgeous. Prepare yourself to be WOWED!
Please welcome Marie Otero!
Hi, my name is Marie Otero and I am a Creative Concept and Fine Art Photographer, currently living in the wilds of Connecticut, USA. Although I’ve lived in the US for over 20 years, I still consider myself to be “mostly” Australian, as that’s where I grew up and where my children and parents live and where I get to visit as often as I can.
My career as a photographer doesn’t have a particularly traditional beginning. When I first came to live in the US, I had to wait nearly 4 years before being able to work in my own right, by which time my previous professional credentials were sorely out of date, although I’d been happily occupied as a Stay-at-Home Mom. Queue in my discovery of places like Michaels, AC Moore and Hobby Lobby and my attentions soon turned to creative pursuits involving mostly mixed media and paper arts.
I became a rubber stamp-a-holic, a passion that led me to designing and creating my own line of rubber stamps which in turn led to a growing fascination with computer generated art. One thing morphed into another and it was not long before I was immersed in learning Photoshop and finding a delight in creating complex pieces of digital art. As a result of having many of those works published in various magazines, I quickly realized that for copyright and content ownership reasons, it would be better if I used my own images to create my digital art and not rely on commercial stock or copyright free material from the internet.
It was at this point a camera entered my world which then began the start of a whole new passion!
Initially, I took pictures of anything and everything that I liked, happy snaps that could be used as elements, textures and objects of interest for my digital work. What I quickly realized was that I sorely lacked images of people, especially models in creative outfits that I could use to weave into my digital stories, so I joined a few MeetUp Groups where I was living and through a lot of trial and error figured out how to use studio lights, style the concepts that were in my head and then put them all together in Photoshop.
It was not long before I was invited to partner in a Photography Studio in Charlotte and then not much later that I decided to branch out and run my own Studio. Having my own studio has turned into one of the greatest pleasures associated with my photography.
As well as enjoying the process of the ‘shoot’, I spend a lot of time figuring out my own concepts, constructing the outfits and making headpieces and accessories for my shoots. Having my own studio enables me to shoot with a bit of a “plan” but often morphs organically as the model and I figure out what we are doing, what we like and what sort of thing ‘floats each other’s boat”! Having my large stash of costumes, accessories and props on hand allows me to work spontaneously.
Once the images from a concept shoot are in the bag, then the next stage of the fun begins. Some of the images from a shoot are edited cleanly and simply for Fine Art Portraiture but others are taken into Photoshop where the studio shots are then composited into different scenes and fantasy environments, depending on what I have in my head. For me it’s a world of limitless options and originality as all the content in a final image belongs to me. My love of photography is not just confined to shooting conceptual fine art; I thoroughly enjoy shooting landscapes, still life, sport and also shoot a lot of ballet dancers as well as figure models. Each style and genre of photography offers my camera and I a different sort of challenge.
My past experience as a Healthcare Educator has put me in good stead organizationally as a teacher who likes to develop online classes and tutorials for Photoshop and Photography. I do, from time-to-time, run Photography workshops both on location or in different studios in Europe, the UK, Australia and in the US. I have also worked for the Photographic Society of America for the past 5 years as one of their photo instructors.