Monique, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I received my first camera from my dad when I was 5. We went to a local camera store in Germany – I will never forget this day! I always took my camera with me everywhere I went and captured all the memories of my childhood.
I spent hours in the darkroom at school. I even did an internship at a local photo studio, but I never thought about a career as a photographer, because the idea of a starving artist was never really appealing. I ended up studying Computer Science in Berlin with a focus on multimedia so that I could still work in the creative field.
After some personal changes in my life, I decided to move to London. I had a great time and found my inner self and creative voice again. Because I still wasn’t quite ready to settle, I accepted a job offer in New York City and 3 weeks later moved to the US with 2 suitcases in tow. And that was eight years ago! While in New York City, I married the love of my life, had 2 wonderful kids and studied User Experience Design at New York University.
I’m really close to my grandparents. Two and half years ago my grandma had a stroke – this made me realize how quickly things can change. My husband and I decided to move to San Diego and I also realized that I want to pursue a career as a photographer.
Photography is where my heart is. I invested in profession gear and education – my goal was to learn as much as possible in the least amount of time.
I had the feeling I had to catch up and make up for the years I had missed. I had the honor to learn from the best photographers in the industry over the last year – I just want to name a few: Erich Caparas, Vicky Papas Vergara, Lola, Melani, Sue Bryce, Kelly Brown… I’m really grateful that my husband supports my dream and my craziness.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I would call myself a magazine-styled portrait photographer who specializes in fashion and creatively styled photo shoots for the everyday woman. I love to play with fabric and unconventional items and create individual art that suits my client’s personality and is a reflection of her.
Right now, I’m working on a parachute photo series. I found and bought old parachutes on eBay and transformed them into beautiful, flowy dresses. My clients feel so special in those parachute dresses – it’s different from what they have seen and experienced before. They cherish the memories of their dream shoot and photographs for a lifetime.
I promise to give my clients an experience that awakens their true beauty, and my photographs will change how they see themselves – EVERY WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL.
My dream photo session consists of three parts:
1. In a pre-consultation, I talk to my clients and find out how they want to be photographed; I also tell them everything they need to know for a successful photo shoot.
2. On the day of the photoshoot, they receive professional hair and makeup services and a fun and relaxed photo session. We create art together!
3. Two weeks after the shoot, my clients return for a personal revelation of their beautiful portraits. My clients will see and hold their 25 signature retouched photographs for the first time. They see how beautiful they are, and they are overwhelmed with emotions – joy and tears – it’s such a special and rewarding moment. They go home with their beautiful fine art prints in a handcrafted Italian vegan leather box.
How can artists connect with other artists?
San Diego has a great community of artists! My suggestion would be to connect with others with similar interests in your area. I have met incredible photographers and vendors – first online through Facebook groups and meet-ups and then later in person, and I have developed many friendships here locally as well as worldwide.
It’s great to know other photographers, to be able to share the same passion, talk about success, challenges and ideas.