I’m excited to share an interview with a very passionate landscape and nature Photographer and Artist from Rochester, New York. Her name is Aimee Maher and she finds inspiration for her works with her love for nature and the outdoors. With a unique approach, Aimee has the ability to capture and convey her connection with nature in all its beauty.
Aimee, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and thank you so much for all your thoughtful responses. You are a remarkable photographer and someone whose work is definitely worth following. I hope to see more great things from you in the future!
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I am a landscape and nature photographer and artist. I love the outdoors and am fascinated with nature. I enjoy creating images that share my vision of the world. I love gardening and am making my yard a place that birds, squirrels, and butterflies love by planting native plants as well as host and nectar plants for the monarchs and other butterflies. For me there is nothing better than to be able to work on my computer editing images in my backyard while listening to the birds singing, the squirrels playing and seeing the butterflies fluttering around. I just love my peaceful atmosphere.
Where is home?
I was born and raised in Rochester, NY and moved to Florida in my late 20’s. My home now is where my husband and dogs are. We live in a beautiful country setting and I couldn’t be happier.
After browsing through your website, I see that you’ve built up an extensive collection of wonderful photography. What is it that led you toward this field and how long have you been working in it?
Growing up, my Dad was always taking pictures. He always made my family and I pose for the camera. I remember we all used to get so aggravated because he had to have everything perfect, the lighting, the background, the angle, etc. Needless to say, it seemed to take forever, especially as kids. But I learned a lot from watching him frame the picture, even if it was subconscious. I didn’t realize till later in life what an impact that made on me. I graduated from High School and became a cosmetologist. I was looking for a creative field to work in and cosmetology fit the bill. I enjoyed helping people feel good. I stayed in that career for about 17 years and then went on to take a job with Bic Graphic printing and assembling pens. After 10 years working there, I met my Husband. I quit my job and moved out of state to where he was. That was my opportunity to take a look inside and decide what I truly wanted to do. I picked up my camera and my love for photography began. That was about 12 years ago.
Are you formally-taught or self-taught? And what has been the best source of information along this journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)?
I am self-taught, I learned from practice, trial and error. My friends and family would tell me I had a natural eye for photography. I learned from online forums as well. I joined Fine Art America in 2012 and have learned a lot from other artists. There are so many helpful discussions about various aspects of the art world.
Are you satisfied with your choice of getting involved with this industry? Is there anything else you would rather be doing?
I am thrilled with the opportunity to do what I love. There is nothing I would rather do than create art from my photography. It is my dream come true, my passion.
What is the inspiration for your photography?
I am inspired by the beauty of nature and how everything is connected. I get so excited when a new flower blooms or I find a cool moth or caterpillar in my garden. And hummingbirds are starting to stop by too, I can’t wait to capture those!
How do you choose what you are going to shoot?
For my floral and nature shots I might just be walking around my garden and something catches my eye, I always have my iPhone on me so either I’ll take the photo with that or I’ll run inside to get my Nikon.
For landscape shots that’s a bit different, I have to prepare. I’m going on a road trip soon so I’m in the process of scouting out what I would like to capture along the way.
When shooting subjects, what do you find most challenging?
Honestly, I find butterflies to be challenging. On any given day you could find me chasing butterflies in my yard trying to get the perfect shot. They like to go from flower to flower and some of them just won’t stop fluttering. Thank goodness for digital cameras, I can’t imagine how much film I would use trying to get those butterfly shots, it would cost a fortune.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I guess it would be one of my trips to Mendon Ponds Park in Rochester, NY in the wintertime. It was early in my career when I went out on a cold snowy day to see what I could capture. I was driving through the park when I spotted four deer. I pulled over, quickly got out of the car camera in hand thinking they would be long gone by the time I set up, But lo and behold The deer just stood there looked right at me and posed. It was snowing so hard and the wind was blowing but I got a few shots in and this is what I captured. I wasn’t able to get many other shots because of the weather but I went back a couple of weeks later and captured one of my best sellers Winter Park.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
There are so many things in nature to capture what motivates me is my passion to create beautiful images that will make people happy. I keep it fresh by capturing different angles and perspectives.
What’s the best part of being a photographer?
Being able to record what I see. Everyone sees things differently and I get to capture what I perceive and share my vision.
Share with us your favorite image and why.
I have several but my newest favorite image is Garden Of Paradise. I love how the chair in the flower garden invites me in and makes me want to take a break and enjoy the tranquility of nature around me. I made a few different versions of this image with painterly effects and I am torn between which ones I like best.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
I hope my images make my viewers feel the peace and beauty in the world. There is too much violence and noise around us and I want to help people find the peaceful feeling that I think we all long for.
What type of camera do you shoot with? What’s your favorite lens?
I started with a Nikon Coolpix and then upgraded to my first DSLR which was a Nikon D50. Right now I shoot with a Nikon D5200 with a 18-55mm and a 55-300mm lens.
What is your favorite photography accessory?
My memory cards for sure, I can’t have too many of them on a shoot. I keep several spares in my bag especially now that I shoot Raw.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in processing your final images?
Very important, I edit all my images one way or another. If I want the image to look natural I might just do a couple of tweaks, but if I want to add any special effects I get to play around a bit which is really fun for me, it helps bring out my creativity in my work.
Was there a point in your artistic journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
Yes, not long after joining Fine Art America in December 2012, I was contacted by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. They were interested in my Alaska Seals image for a permanent exhibit on their Bears and Sea Mammals Hall. I can’t explain how good it felt and how good it still feels today to have my image hanging there. It really was the validation I needed to continue on my path. I have yet to make the trip out to Denver to see it but I will get there. I’m hoping maybe the fall of 2019. I would love to capture Denver with the beautiful fall foliage.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
When I first started out in photography, I didn’t think I was good enough to just sell prints, I mean there’s a lot of competition out there. So I printed my photos and put them on wood plaques covered them with a two-part epoxy kind of like decoupage, and went to craft fairs to sell them. I even made coasters with my photos on them. But as much as everyone complimented me on my work they just weren’t selling. I hardly made enough to cover the cost of the booth rentals. I really did enjoy it though, I loved the compliments but compliments didn’t pay the bills so needless to say it was disappointing. Then I discovered Fine Art America and found it was a better fit for me. I donated almost all my inventory to the church my husband belongs to, hoping they could make some money from them. Of course, I kept a few to remind me where I started.
Are there any areas of photography that you have yet to pick up on that you’d like to learn?
I would like to experiment more with night photography and using the tripod. I only have a few night shots so far.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
The next few years, learning more, experimenting and always creating, but when my husband retires I see myself traveling and capturing vast landscapes and a lot more wildlife.