What happens when you mix latin passion, female determination and a bit of healthy craziness? Ask Mariana Quintana who dropped a successful career at one of Brazil’s top infrastructural firms to dive deep into photography.
She’s the girl I went to high-school with, the woman I met years later in São Paulo, her hometown, the wife to Andrea from Milan, my hometown, and now she is a fashion photographer and she doesn’t look back.
“It all started with a passion. I took a beginner’s course just for fun and my interest grew. I worked all day and didn’t have time to research and learn by myself. I was already unhappy with my career, and during the course I saw an opportunity to do something I loved.”
In the beginning she used her brother’s point and shoot camera and her dad’s film camera. Classes were twice a week, a mix between theory and studio practice, and she attended for 2 years. “The best thing I learned was to exercise my creativity, and organize the creative process. The teachers were very demanding, which was good for me. I was so tired after work that I wouldn’t have studied so hard if it wasn’t for them.”
At first she did a bit of everything: portraits, fine art, events and fashion. Then things naturally shifted towards fashion, which was her thing from the start. So in March 2012 she quit the job.
“I just didn’t fit in that environment and wasn’t doing something interesting to me. Studying economics at university was great, but working in the financial market had nothing to do with me.”
The change was not easy: her boyfriend, without a visa, couldn’t get a proper job in Brazil so she supported them both for a while. At first it was ok, “I was just doing it for fun”, but by the second year she had already decided to quit her job.
“It was a very difficult period for us, I wasn’t happy with my life and was trying to figure a way out.” Andrea was always very supportive and with a bit of sacrifice they managed to save some money for the beginning of her photographer’s career.
And surprisingly the previous job is influencing her work now: “It’s all business management and maybe the way I present myself to clients…”
“After we got married Andrea found a good position but in Curitiba, in the south of Brazil. He moved there first and I was a bit afraid to go and start looking for jobs all over again. After 1 year I joined him and actually really liked the place, but my base is still São Paulo.”
The first year was very hard, getting to know the right people and thinking about the future. Friends and family were all surprised, but also knew how unhappy she was. “I think everybody was glad for me.”
Mariana grew up in São Paulo but in the mid 90’s her family was forced to moved to Alphaville, a safe compound outside the city.
“São Paulo always influenced me more, everything is happening there. And I think I learned to search for beauty into chaos.”
She works mostly from home. “I don’t have a studio and don’t feel the need right now. I’m always on the move and can always rent if necessary.” She will meet many models, but Kate Moss is The One if she could choose: “She’s amazing with a very strong personality and I love that.” Vogue, Elle and the like are her must reads but also independent websites and magazines where new photographers are published: U+Mag, Brainstorm (Brazilian), Ffw website (Brazilian), just to mention a few.
Alter Ego’s Proust-questionnaire: Who is Mariana Quintana
Paris/Milan/London or New York?
Can’t live without…
– My camera.
– Helmut Newton.
Your signature on set?
– Low key lighting.
Most important figure in your life?
– My husband.
Best fashion brand big&small?
– Alexander McQueen and Osklen.
Are you a collector?
– Only of Dylan Dog.
What music on set?
– I always ask the model to choose.
Where is home?
– Curitiba, but not for long.
You keep saying to yourself:
Tudo vai dar certo.
who: Mariana Quintana
what: fashion photography
where: São Paulo and Curitiba
Alter Ego Portraits features stories and works of selected individuals around the world that have an alterego in their lives. Based on the definition of the Latin term alterego as a person’s secondary or alternative personality we focus on their profile uncovering their alterego; our candidates perform a task (job or activity) that is not their primary occupation/education and the tension between original and new self influences their work in unexpected ways.
We are interested in people and projects that cross boundaries between arts and crafts, abstract and concrete, ordinary and bold. In uncertain times of deep crisis, fast change, fierce competition we believe in people that can inspire us to go beyond ourselves.