It’s been a couple of years since Maria Murray sought new pastures in a peaceful village just north of Winchester, Hampshire. We caught up with her to see how she’s coping with the slower pace of life and, of course, to find out more about her new studio.
aria Murray has been a family photographer for over a decade, and the proud proprietor of several accolades, including UK Portrait Photographer of the Year at the British Photography Awards, which means she’s become a family favourite for capturing those all-important memory-instilling images.
Nearly two years ago, Maria Murray upped sticks and left the hustle and bustle of Essex life behind her and set up home just 15 minutes from the historically plump city of Winchester, in Hampshire. But it doesn’t look like Maria has accustomed herself to the slower pace of country living just yet. Summer 2012 saw the launch of Maria’s stunning new studio; incredibly well thought out and a photographer’s dream, the studio’s environment is bursting with a feeling of warmth and cosiness for little ones. Flooded with gorgeous natural light and equipped with newborns in mind, it’s no surprise that moments when Maria’s not creating beautiful photography are few and far between. Needless to say it’s her favourite place to shoot. “It’s a perfect setting for my newborn shoots. I am so pleased with how it’s panned out. It really is a godsend that I was able to draw it and have it built to my specifications.”
Although Maria hasn’t lost her drive for photography, and her clear determination, she has been embracing the fine countryside that Hampshire has to offer. “I love the fact that I can drive out and be by the sea in half an hour. The local food is great – plenty of fresh organic produce and some lovely places to eat out. The links with London are also pretty good so I don’t feel too isolated.”
She may be enjoying the local area but in terms of workload it doesn’t sound like Maria’s hanging up one’s gloves (or camera should I say!), as I asked whether she’d adjusted from living life in the fast lane. “Personally – not particularly, but that’s just down to personal circumstances. Running a business, being a mum and wife, and finding some time for me means that I am always on the go!” But she wouldn’t have it any other way. As it’s not just the studio that keeps her ticking over.
Maria has recently plunged herself into the commercial world, “It’s nothing big, mainly shoots for businesses like baby clothing brands, and headshots for websites. It’s fun and a break from the norm.” And if that wasn’t enough to keep Maria on her toes, she’s also been fuelling a passion of hers in fitness. “If I wasn’t a photographer I’d definitely do something in the fitness industry. I have just completed my level 1 CrossFit training qualification and planning to do more. In time I hope to combine both careers.”
It’s clear from Maria’s evident creative flair she was born to be a photographer, although her career began in quite the opposite direction as a mortgage broker. Maria’s daughter, now 11 years old, is hoping to become a teacher when she’s older. “She does have a camera and loves taking pictures but her dream job right now is to be a teacher to little ones.”
Although Maria’s daughter is growing up so fast, due to her job she’s constantly surrounded by little babies. However, Maria says she doesn’t get broody at all. “The only time I get broody is when I go back and see images of Isabelle when she was little or watch a video of her bumbling around as baby – so chubby and cute! We have been trying for a second for the last 9 years, but as I have endometriosis, it just hasn’t happened. So I have made a conscious decision to accept the fact I will have just the one, and we are planning to do some travelling as a family instead – something that Izzy would probably miss out on if another baby came along.” And it would certainly be a holiday album I’d like to see.
With technology’s rapidity only bound to continue, I was interested to find out where Maria sees photography going. “Fully digitised, 3d effects, sound effects with images, a lot more video – technology is progressing at an amazing pace.” But Maria’s not starting to panic yet, “I still think there is nothing better than a good old printed photograph in an album that you can look at and reminisce!” And I absolutely agree, I don’t think Maria’s going anywhere just yet. Her ever-expanding client list now includes various celebrities and several Emirates Royal families. And in the last two years she’s even been flown specifically for newborn shoots to Brazil and Dubai. It’s a wonder just how she does it. ✿