Maïder Oyarzabal is a freelance photographer, travel writer and ambassador for Nikon and GoPro, whose client list includes Expedia, Allibert Trekking and Tourism Australia among others. When not wandering between oceans and mountains and moving from stranger to strangest, Maïder is based in the Basque Country, France. Maïder is represented by Alter-View.
1. Describe your path to becoming a photographer?
I started doing photography 5 years ago, when I went on my first big solo trip and spent 8 months in Asia and South America. Before that I had actually never really travelled or taken pictures. So photography and travel are interconnected for me. At a certain point I was doing my normal day-job in marketing and working on different side-projects at the same time. But brands and tourism boards wanted to work with me more and more, so I got enough confidence to take a big step and became a full time photographer.
2. Have you had any mentors along the way?
I can’t really use the word mentor: I’ve been growing professionally and developing my style together with my fellow-photographers. They are people I met on Instagram, or during travels and press trips. Sometimes I still work with them, and we mutually learn from each other, but I don’t consider any of them my mentors. If I had to name one person, it’s Adrienne Pitts, London-based travel and lifestyle photographer, whom I met during my trip to Finland last year - I really like her style.
3. What was your first photo-related job?
Ironically the job that drove me into this and gave me confidence was doing wedding shots - that was something I couldn’t picture myself doing, since it’s pretty far from travel and lifestyle photography. It wasn’t my first photography related job, but it was a really challenging one, the one that clicked.
4. Have you ever taken a big risk to move forward professionally?
I can’t say it was a big risk - there were no obligations like mortgage or family - it was more of a challenge: quitting my normal day-job and just going for it. I thought it was a good time to spread my wings and get into image making full time. I was just going to try and see what happens, and if it wouldn’t work, I’d find a way to get back on my feet.
5. Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?
My family totally support me and it’s nice to know I have them, and they’ll be always there for me. My friends are also supportive. Even before I got into photography, most of my friends were working in some sort of creative industry - such things help you grow and get feedback and encouragement you need.
6. Where’s home and how living there influences you?
I consider the Basque country my home, this is where I live right now. I didn’t grow up here, but my family roots are from this place so I came back to live here a year ago. I’m really inspired by this place’s fantastic nature: I live just between ocean and mountains. For me it’s the perfect place. I find a lot of inspiration and strength in this surroundings.
7. Do you have a routine?
It depends on whether I’m home or on the road. When I’m home I quite like to have some sort of routine, because I need balance. While on the road you don't know when you’re going to sleep or wake up, and days are mostly long and stressful. So when I’m home I do sports daily and I love hiking in the mountains or walking on the beach - it definitely helps my creative process. As for the work days - I mainly work in the afternoon, because I’m not a morning person.
8. How would you describe your style?
I would say I shoot bright and colorful pictures most of the time. I also have this thing for outdoors, because that’s where I can express myself. I’m really spontaneous and sensitive in my work. Of course my style’s changed over the years, as in the beginning I didn't know what I was doing. I used to shoot everything I could, but now I am really fascinated by nature and the way people interact with it. I learn from my mistakes and now have a better eye for composition.
9. What are your creative plans for the next 5 years?
I am not the planning-obsessed kind of girl! My past experiences taught me that I mostly have to be ready anytime and seize the opportunities so I won't talk about plans, but rather objectives. I want to keep on traveling, go further in my creativity and develop series I would be proud of.
10. Why did you join Alter-View?
It's a great opportunity for development and getting my work promoted.
I also love the fact that we are a community of photographers coming from various backgrounds and cultures. I really look forward to meeting and working with the Alter-View team as I am sure it will be really stimulating and enriching to learn from each other.
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