In Profile: Mara Sommer

Posted on April 01, 2016

Hey, it’s Mara Sommer! Her photographic work for us is always on point and she remains one of our most frequent collaborator dial ups. A true professional, Mara brings a sense of calm to a campaign shoot, placating nerves while she works to create the most engaging and beautiful images possible. Not one for fuss, nonsense, hype or trends, Mara brings her Germanic, no-grey way of verbalising her thoughts to every project. If she loves something she’ll tell you so, and you’ll know just as much when she doesn’t. A true master of light, Mara has a pure talent that her love for timeliness and order can’t disguise. 
Mara Sommer Love and Object
 
On growing up…
I had a great upbringing in Germany. My parents are both artists, so their influence was huge. I went to a school where the focus was very much on art, music and craftsmanship. Coupled with a lot of travelling, these experiences meant that I was moving in creative directions from a young age.
 
On creative inspiration…
I think every foreign country offers great inspiration, it’s new and different from the everyday reality of home. I like to travel home to Germany at least once a year as it seems to give me a lot of new thoughts and ideas. Berlin especially is an amazing city to renew my creative flow. I also travel a lot for work; Paris, Marrakech, Fiji and the South Island are a few of the my recent destinations.
 
On her pre-shoot routine…
I try to have a quiet day to myself the day before. I’ll look at loads of references to get myself in the mood and feel out what we’re setting out to achieve. On the day, I like to be up early, and at the shoot location before everyone else. If it’s at my studio, I slowly get organised. If we’re elsewhere, sometimes I’ll sit in the car for a while, waiting for everyone else to arrive. I would have also made sure not to do any really strenuous exercise. Sore muscles make shooting hard work, it can be very physical.
 
On daily rituals…
Walking every morning, unless there’s a shoot going on. I’ll make myself a coffee and take it along with me. It’s when I get my best ideas, and have the mental space to think deeply on upcoming projects.
I also like to use the evening to work on imagery. Often I’ll have a film going on in the background. It pays not to think too much about selecting imagery, there’s something very intuitive about it. I get a better result when I’m not overthinking the process.

On the beginnings of new ideas...
Rick Owens SS16 womenswear collections are a current fascination of mine. The internet nearly exploded when he sent models down the runway wearing other models like backpacks. Conceptually, this was a nod towards female strength and women supporting other women. I love how he tends to presents his work in totally different ways. It stuck with me and was encouragement to explore his work more. A renewed interest in the work of Egon Schiele was born out of this, I love his drawings of twisted body shapes and movement.

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