Name: Marianne Taylor //
Hometown: Newquay, Cornwall //
Occupation: Photographer //
Star Sign: Leo //
Marianne, where are you from and what’s it like there?
I am originally from Finland but came to the UK in 1999. The one thing I miss about my home country is the nature, space, and silence. The population is fairly small in relation to the size of the country, so there are big stretches of wild nature where you don’t come across any people. In a way, moving to Cornwall has given some of that sense of quiet, undisturbed landscape back to me. But there’s still nothing quite like sitting by a quiet lake in the summer, where all you hear are bird calls across the surface of the water, or a perfectly white winter’s day where the only sound is the crunch of snow under your feet.
What got you to where you are now?
I came to Cornwall for the first time in 2001 and I fell in love at first sight. It felt like my soul had arrived home. From then on I came to Cornwall as often as I could and dreamt of one day living here. Two years ago I finally decided that life was too short to wait for a ‘retirement plan’ and moved to Newquay. It was a bit of a risk with most of my work having been in London (or aboard, which links from London allowed), so I had to come up with a different business model in order to make the move work. Hence I started building up the commercial side of my photography business, which consists mainly of product photography I can do from my home studio, plus lifestyle photography which celebrates the beach lifestyle of my new hometown. I still also offer photography to couples and families, and travel for the occasional wedding.
How would you describe your photographic style?
The two parts of my photography business have quite distinctively different styles. While my commercial photography is super colourful and playful, my portrait and wedding work is more romantic, and is based around capturing authentic moments. I feel lucky that I get to feel creatively fulfilled in different ways, while commercial photography is all about colour and composition, weddings or couple shoots are about storytelling and capturing beautiful emotions.
How has the ocean influenced your photography?
Hugely! I’m really enjoying the fact that I can offer a lifestyle element for my commercial clients based around the surfer vibe in Newquay. It’s amazing that we have a place in the UK where you get a similar laid back feel of more distant surfer hot spots in somewhere like California or Australia. Of course, the rugged Cornish coast and our unpredictable weather throws in its own flavour! On the portrait side, I’m also enjoying photographing couples and families with the beautiful backdrop of the Cornish coast with its wild seas. There really is nothing better than the ever-changing ocean.
What were your hobbies when you were younger have you always been interested in photography?
When I was young I used to draw and paint all the time, it was pretty much the only thing I was interested in. I got my first camera when I was 11, and ever since then it’s always been a constant companion. What I love about being a photographer is that it teaches you to instinctively always notice the quality of light. This constant search of light, whether conscious or unconscious, helps you see and appreciate every day beauty even when you don’t have a camera in your hand.
What first inspired you to create your own business?
I was never really built for office life… I started my first business in the late 90’s, and while I worked as a magazine designer for a long while after my move to the UK, that fire to be your own boss and forge your own way has always been there. Life of an entrepreneur is definitely not always plain sailing, it can be scary to have to rely on only yourself, especially if or when you have to face disruptive things such as ill health or big life changes. But still, even though it requires to get comfortable with constant uncertainty, it’s just the best to be in charge of your own destiny in such a concrete way.
What’s been the toughest thing you’ve had to over come?
While luckily I’ve never had to go through any major tragedy, there have been harder times… I had a few years of ill health which really made it difficult to see the way forward. It’s not only that keeping on top of work is hard when you are not well, but the psychological side is even tougher when you feel like you are constantly letting yourself and everyone else down. I’m also facing life alone for the first time in my adult life, which is quite scary. I’m slowly starting to tip over to the side of quiet excitement, but it’s definitely still something that I’m working to overcome.
What’s been the best bit of advice you have ever been given?
That life is tidal. That there’s no such thing as ‘having made it’. There will always be up and downs, everything is in constant change and you just have to try to get comfortable with the ebb and flow of life.
Do you surf?
I don’t! I am more of a watcher of ocean (unless the water temperature is more on the tropical side!), and I enjoy watching surfers do their thing. I have been thinking of trying out SUP, I mean I should probably have something to do with the water living down here!
Describe your typical day
I don’t really have a typical day as such, it really depends on what I have on that week. If it’s an admin or editing day, I’ll spend most of it in the office, if it’s a shoot day I’ll spend it in the studio, or the beach if I’m lucky! When I have a wedding I’ll generally travel to London or beyond for it. I try to plan my months in a way that there’s a variety of things I’m doing. Having said that, Mondays have become office days since my new admin assistant started, and I’ve found that I really like that one bit of constancy, it kicks off the week in an efficient way!