Mareea Vegas from New Zealand is up next on +PS and we’re elated to have this open, gifted, spiritual photographer on board! Mareea says her style is informal, and as true as that may be; we say her style is endlessly beautiful. Stunning imagery aside, Mareea is a caring, inspirational and splendidly candid young lady! Get settled in and bask in Mareea. We did!
Good vibes and endless inspiration,
Preset Shop Team
Who is Mareea Vegas?
Well… I am a constant work in progress…I’m an artist from a small and remote island country, NZ. I’ve lived and survived as a touring musician and professional photographer for half of my life. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Acupuncture with a Post grad in Psychotherapy working towards an integrative mind and body health practice. These are all expressions of what I am but they don’t define me. I’m trying to live an honest and pure life. I’ve always struggled with shyness though I appear extroverted. I love a lot, I hurt a lot. I’m horribly transparent and learning to understand that it’s ok not to be. I am the light and sometimes I’m dark like the sky. And I’m no longer afraid of exploring my dark. I’ve come to peace with it. I feel so much peace right now. I’m an observer, I watch endlessly, contemplate and perceive. I am overcome by simple moments. I’m lost in moments. That is my life. That is living. I care, I care a lot and I’m glad that I do. I carry burdens. I am connected to the world, I feel the universe. I am nature and constantly part of it. I’m finding my essence and I feel complete on this journey. I am learning not to worry about being judged by people who know nothing of my inner world. I still dream of revolution and I live a life not bound by servitude.
Where do you call home?
A little country called New Zealand. We have two islands; I live in the north one. I lived years in LA and spent a good decade touring the world.
Are you self taught or schooled?
Originally my father taught me as a young child to use his ’67 35mm Pentax Spotmatic. This later became the camera I took to Art School in the mid nineties. So I had already learnt the basics of using an analogue camera before starting University where I then learnt how to develop films and darkroom techniques etc…
What’s your current state of mind?
What is your secret in keeping a happy balanced life whilst following your passion?
I’ve never known a life that hasn’t involved me following my passion for art and creating. In that sense I feel incredibly privileged to at a young age been brave enough to surrender the need to live by societal values…though it most definitely has been a rocky road and I certainly haven’t always been a happy person. It can be tough growing up in industries that can really challenge your beliefs and confidence before perhaps you’ve gathered enough courage and experience to hold onto yourself. But recently, very recently I’ve been through changes…They’re changes that I always thought were possible and the universe has really opened up and shown me how powerful it is. I’ve always had a deep desire to actualize who I really am and that is happening. So I guess that I just keep my trust in the universe. I’ve learned to recognise the right time to let go of the bad stuff. My balance comes from connecting with my own essence which allows me to really participate in and feel part of the world. Everything that I do is what I choose to do. Nothing is work. “Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?”
Do you remember that exact moment when you knew photography was what you had to do?
I don’t recall having one defining moment. My music career absolutely took over my life and while I don’t regret any of it I guess that it didn’t leave much space to explore photography in full. Photography has always run in parallel to my music career so in that respect it has always been with me in some way. Now that I’m a little older and not touring professionally anymore I’ve been able to give my passion for photography the space it has needed to develop. It’s fascinating for me to watch it continue to change as I do, and as the world does.
As you look through the viewfinder, what is the most critical moment in the capture of your image?
Well that’s hard to put into words. When you know you just know. It’s organic and it’s meant to be. It’s the moment that comes just before or after the obvious moment. It’s the moment that is so miniscule it’s overlooked, but it’s subtle and astonishingly beautiful and if captured it resonates on a human level.
How would you describe your style?
I studied visual arts, at Auckland University in Auckland, NZ. I went in as a painter and came out as a photographer. At that time at the University degree was very much based on conceptual art. What was most important was having the ability to successfully fill a brief with a strong idea that you could defend in every way and to the death, all executed in a highly conceptual and modern artwork. So my background in photography and art in general is very visionary. I’d had no experience with commercial or fashion shoots until recently though many of my long-standing friends are such photographers so through them I’ve seen the industry change a lot. For instance, I’ve never had to pitch for a commercial job. We’ve moved into a different era. Major commercial clients are actually sourcing me from social media or word of mouth, choosing my particular style as something they feel is synonymous with how they want to project their brand. ’Arty’ photographers are becoming a more commercial choice, more clients are looking to the indie-type photographer to help them connect with the youth and the technical knowledge base that was once an absolute must is no longer a prerequisite. The Nikon boys know me as the ‘arty’ one. They absolutely know how technically useless I am and I’m happy to be their running joke as I fill a new and different niche that has opened up. I don’t know how to set up or use studio lights. I shoot purely with natural light. My style is informal; it’s always about that indefinable moment.
What photographers from the past or present have influenced you the most?
Honestly, the most influential artists for me have always been painters. Specifically surrealist and abstract painters…Salvador Dalí (I recently travelled to his grave in Figueres, Spain), Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Kandinsky and photographer Man Ray. As a present influence 20 yr old Nirrimi inspires me both photographically and personally. She’s a really special girl. She is love. Her ethos resonates deeply with me and her love connects so many people.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Find your niche. If you’re asked to do a job that’s seemingly way out of your depth…never say no. Say yes and work out how to do it later. ‘Always be nice to people on the way up; because you’ll meet the same people on the way down’.
What’s the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?
That’s a tough question. Maybe that I care.
If you could be invisible for one day with your camera…
Stuff the camera…I’m fucking invisible!!!
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
This question has made me realise how many cameras I actually have. I’m hooked up with Nikon, my main camera is the D700 and I have only one lens. I do prefer to use minimal gear as personally it forces me to depend on my creativity and brain. I tend to shoot more creatively when I restrict myself that way. If I see a shot that I want 100m’s away…well…with only a 50mm I’m gonna have to run there to get it and who knows what else I’ll see on the way…I also use (all 35mm) Nikon f90x, Pentax Spotmatic, Pentax K1000 and Carl Zeiss Contaflex.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
Oh that’s easy. The only lens on my camera is a Nikon 50mm 1.4, I’m definitely a prime fixed focal length girl. Technically it’s incredibly sharp but the fact that it’s such a personal lens appeals to me. I’m most comfortable with and completely content with the 50mm. It most closely reflects how I see things.
What is your favorite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer?!
Lightroom, for sure.
Are you a MAC or PC chick?
What’s a ‘PC’?
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Lightroom is the only software I use. All of my colour correction/manipulation is done in Lightroom. In fact I don’t even own Photoshop and have not a clue how to use it. It scares me. But I’m feeling more and more the pressure to have it and to learn at least how to clean images up. If there’s something big that needs doing I will outsource it to friend who very very kindly helps me out with that stuff.
Cos we just have to ask…!! What is your favourite +PS tool?? And how has it improved workflow time?
Oh man has it improved my workflow time and now that I have the complete Master Suite Collection I’m totally spoilt for choice. My go to +PS tools are the Retrograde, Fashion Editorial and Faded Film Packs. They are a fantastic starting point. Sometimes I know exactly what I’m looking for…sometimes they’ll help me decide or steer me in a completely different direction that I wouldn’t necessarily think of. Once I’ve found something close to the right look I’ll usually spend some time tweaking (not twerking) until I’m happy. Occasionally I’ll try a filter and it’s absolutely what I’m looking for and I don’t have to change a thing.
Do you maintain a studio or do you rent one when needed?
I don’t do a lot of studio work but yeah when I need one I rent. Most photographers in NZ tend to work this way now.
Photography pet hates and why?
When I’m trying to look really professional at the start of the shoot, everyone’s watching me and waiting to hear the first shutter signalling that we’re on…Then they notice the slightly befuddled look on my face and I’m thinking “Oh my God why is it all black???”
…then I realise I still have my lens cap on.
Do you play music whilst shooting? If so, what are you digging right now?
Yeah definitely, for editorials for sure. I’m digging so much music at the moment. I’ll ask the model firstly if they have anything that they want to play during the shoot. For me it’s much more important to have them relaxed and inspired and I’m pretty sweet with anything. I do like to turn it up loud though! If it’s my choice then it really depends on the emotion I want from them. If I need something deep, tortured, provoking, then your obvious choices are Lana, Lorde, Broods, Grimes, James Blake…My era more Mazzy Star, PJ, Goldfrapp, Evan Dando. I’m a total metal hard rock girl (Blood Duster, Motorhead, QOTSA, Faith no more) mixed with the just right amount of depressive 80’s-90’s English music (The Cure, Stone Roses, Morrissey, Joy Division)…but yeah totally depends on the situation.
What five words would your clients use to describe you?
Hmmmm dunno! Tall, Dark, Female, Nice Hair.
What lies ahead for Mareea Vegas?
Learning, more learning, more understanding and more loving. More heartbreak, more loss, more gain and deeper connections. More stumbling, more fences. I’ll be having more exhibitions, making music, taking pictures, healing people and loving. Always moving closer.