Marianne Paraskeva is a creative fashion photographer from London, UK, and is our latest Starnow competition winner. When we first checked out Marianne’s portfolio we were really impressed and despite her hectic schedule we were delighted when she agreed to complete an interview with us at Urbanity Chic. Read the entire interview below where Marianne discusses, amongst other things, how she became involved in professional photography, what she’s recently been working on as well as what musicians and recording artists she enjoys listening to.
Q: Who are you called?
I answer to most things!! However, I go by either Marianne Paraskeva or Mariskeva.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
Creativity has always been a big part of my life and growing up in such a culturally diverse and creative family I knew I was heading into the ‘arts’. It was whilst I was abroad studying for my A-Levels, my art teacher was also a photographer and when I expressed an interest in photography he took me under his wing to get me started. So post A-Levels I took this further to study at Kent Institute of Art and Design in Rochester Kent and then once I had graduated I moved to the big smoke (London) to see what all the fuss was about. It was then that I realised that waking up each morning and doing what you love is the best feeling in the world. I started to assist a photographer and also had some amazing opportunities to travel and spend time with locals that enabled me to capture some inspirational images. So between travelling and assisting I managed to build a confident client base and allow my work to grow from there.
Q: What do you enjoy photographing most?
There are so many things I enjoy photographing. I love to travel and capture stories through my time spent in close communities. This allows you a connection and sense of family. I also love to shoot fashion and beauty. I love to photograph new emerging designers. I find their work is unhindered and fresh. To create something from imagination into reality. I love the whole process of mood boards/story boarding to the prep and research and then to the final shots. Rarely do things ever go to plan and I kind of like this element in my work.
Q: How has the last 12 months been for you?
The last 12 months have been pretty good now that you ask. I have worked harder than ever to increase my client base, produce new work that is some of my best yet and to work more constructively to what I enjoy.
Q: Who inspires you?
Everyone inspires me! From the people we pass everyday on the street to the amazing and talented creatives I work closely with.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
I don’t really look up to anybody in particular. I have a passion for something that catches my eye and is a little different; this is what I look for. I love the extremities of Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. I am a big fan of 50’s cinema and love the fashion and beauty of that era.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Attention to detail. I think this is the most important part of making a great image. The eye and ability to make your image hold a viewer and make them believe in what you are saying. Attention is in the detail!
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
Well! I learnt on film. I love the ambiguity, the way certain films effect your perception and production. I was a big believer that digital would never work!! So now, of course I use digital!!
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
I am a bit of a control freak so I do prefer the consistency of the studio and the manipulation that you are in control of, however, shooting on location poses many different types of obstacles that I challenge myself to overcome.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
I see a lot of the same kind of ‘look’. Once you have seen it once you tend to see it again and again. I like to be creative and not always stick to the confines of what is seen as acceptable especially in the fashion industry. You are your work and I believe in this strongly and not just shooting for the sake of it but shooting because you feel it, otherwise what is the point?
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
I have so many.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
I can’t say I have one. I am inspired by so much of what I see and I take from each image something positive and often negatives and from this I form what I like and don’t like.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is about expression. Once you move away from the confines of who wears what and who is who, fashion becomes far less serious. I admire the new and upcoming British designers who push the boundaries of what we perceive as ‘fashion’.
Q: Where are you based?
Currently I am based in North London
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I am originally from Bristol with Greek Cypriot Origins. I love my heritage and believe that the diversity I have grown up with reflects in my work, which I am and what I believe.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I like to take each day as it comes. I am happy to keep doing what I am doing and I would love to take my photography to more destinations and experience something that I haven’t yet.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I like to meditate. My mind often works on its own accord and I am constantly thinking about a millions things at once. I am a big list writer so although I find it hard at times, meditation calms me and helps me focus.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Antarctica! I have a huge scratch map in my office, where you scratch off each place you have been to. I am determined to go to the Antarctic and scratch it off my map. It is the most unusual ‘holiday’ destination, if you can call it that! I love to travel to places that offer something a little different. To places you can remember and hold in your mind for years and years. Not just another beach holiday. I have been fortunate to travel widely and this would top them all! The Antarctic offers something I find magical and surreal. I think it will be a personal push of my boundaries also.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Wow! I am the hugest Mary J Blige fan. so all of her albums. I have a mixture of songs ranging from the aforementioned to Lucy Pearl, Musiq Soulchild, Whitney, Madonna, Prince, Eric Clapton and some Indian Meditation!!!
Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies?
I love to travel, I am the ‘queen’ of backgammon, I like to write -- I find this helps with my work.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Hard work pays off. Keep trying. Believe in who you are and what you want to say.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
A passion to express myself through a visual medium.
Editor’s Note: Marianne Paraskeva has a strong appreciation of lighting and ergonomic form that has created a portfolio that is both bold, dynamic and has an Avant Garde edge. We’re sure Marianne has the ability and attention to detail to feature in major fashion publications in the future.
If you’d like to contact Marianne Paraskeva or check out some more of her impressive portfolio, just follow the links below:
twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/Mariskeva
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mariskeva/102012056558780
web page link: http://www.mariskeva.com