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5 minutes with the Artist: Marie-Angela Paino

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Mary Lou (left) and photography artist Marie-Angela Paino (right)

Marie-Angela Paino is based in Melbourne Australia with her camera, creating images that move and inspire. She is the curator, organiser and co-exhibitor in our current exhibition A Life Beyond Waiting; a selection of photographs  created to raise awareness of the low rates of organ donation in Australia, and the possibility of generosity among human beings.

What is the inspiration behind your current body of work?

In our society today thousands of hours are spent waiting. Waiting for a friend, waiting for a meeting to start, a bus/train, a text/phone call.  We are always waiting another and it is now almost a norm.  I noticed this on the streets of Melbourne and started shooting it instinctively.  I soon realized there are many people waiting for something more important and for whom these photographs will make a difference.

How do you create these works, what is your process?

Being a street photographer takes determination, something I’m still learning.  It’s different to other forms of photography or art where you can create something from a blank canvas, adding elements to a page or staging a shoot.   It takes constantly looking and always having something to capture it, then being able to select from many the images you’ve captured knowing how they fit into a series.  Specially now with digital photography there can be hundreds of images in one day.  I compare being out in the street photographing with fishing; sometimes you get lots of fish and sometimes none.  Whereas I have a completely different approach to my conceptual work, which takes weeks, even months, of thinking, getting up in the middle of the night recording a new idea or working through one, before the process of capturing an image begin.

What is your background/education/arts experience?

I grew up in the Philippines where everyone was artistic in music, dance and/or visual arts.   I loved to dance and was known to get my teachers to sit for me while I sketched their portraits, pity I never kept one as I gave them all away.  Moving to a new culture in Australia at 11 years old, fitting in and earning a good living became more important. I finished Computing Science at University and worked almost 15 years in the corporate world moving up the ranks.  At the height of my career it dawned on me that it was not something I wished to pursue and it was time to nurture the fire for the arts, and in particular photography.  Now I’m studying part-time at Photography Studies College and creating projects and other bodies of work on the side.  Next year I’d like to publish a book and share my conceptual work.

Marie-Angela's photographic works in 'A Life Beyond Waiting' exhibition

The forecast for one Melbourne day was extreme winds with a chance of rain.  I knew it’d make for a decent photography day.  There was a whirlwind of activity that day and not everyone was quite as prepared.  People were savaged by the winds and drenched by the rain; it was a day of fun for some and frustration for others trying to find shelter.  For me it was a great fishing day, there were many useable images in my card.  Then on my way home waiting for the bus, as the sun started to fall, a woman in a dark blue floral dress was leaning by the bus stand, shoes soaked probably ruined.  Her knees buckled in the cold.

It was the image that completed the day and started a new project, a project about waiting.


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