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As Maria excitedly talks of her explorations through Africa, you can almost feel the heat on your skin and the brightness of the colours hit your eyes.

Bo-Kaap, Kapstadt, Südafrika. Für das Merian Magazin.

After a 5 month stint travelling through South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, Ghana and Rwanda; it is clear that Africa has left a major impression on Schiffer – from the way of life, the people, culture and extreme diversity that makes for wonderful stories and even more wonderful photographs.

Getting into photography was a way of life for Maria; ever since she was young, her family moved all over the world constantly – meaning creating a permanent home was a bit tricky. To remedy this, she turned her hand to photography to hold the memories of the places she called home throughout the years. With no rooms, no neighbourhoods – photographs became her childhood and home eternalised. From the time her grandpa gave her her first camera age 12, it was a self-taught process for Schiffer, discovering new angles, new lenses and the complicated but beautiful process of capturing a moment in time.

As a photographer, Maria explains that the hardest part of her job is sometimes the expectations of a final image clients might have in their mind. When it comes to shooting outside, you’re really playing devil’s advocate with numerous factors, such as the weather, timings, other people. Constantly travelling can present its challenges but isn’t without a lot of payoff as a photographer. One week Schiffer can find herself shoot gorillas in the mountains of Rwanda, and another, in Ostsee on an empty beach – both assignments providing tough hurdles to solve. However, as she expresses, it is these challenges that make her a better photographer, travelling and pushing herself makes sure she never loses the wonder.

“Staying in awe of people and places anywhere is what enables me to show life and beauty in my pictures.”


Secret travel tip?

Bring a photocopy of your passport.


Your “can’t live without” travel item

Earplugs, wallet with cards in one and another wallet with cash in another (so you’re never completely screwed), extra pillowcase, safety pin.

Window or aisle?

Aisle – I drink a lot of water, and it is really important to keep hydrated and moving, especially when you travel a lot. So, I like to be on the aisle to get up and go to the toilet and sneak extra water from the flight attendants without disturbing my seat mate.


Favourite airport?

Tough one -I’d have to say Maroantsetra in Madagascar (WMN) …it’s an experience for sure!

 

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