Vero Manrique – Her Essence in Images

Say hello to Vero :

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Where are you from?  Where have you been?

I am originally from Venezuela, but 18 years ago, I left my country. Since then, I’ve lived in the UK, USA, Argentina, and am currently based in Chile.


What’s your favorite place in the world?

Definitely for me, travel is one of the greatest pleasures of life, but without a doubt, there is always a special place where you would like to go and fulfill the dream of experiencing it. My number one destination on my wish list is Australia – it’s a dream that I have had for many years. I am attracted to the landscapes, the culture, and the people. Of the countries I have visited, my favorite places without a doubt are Barcelona, Cartagena, California, NYC, and London. They are very different places, but you will fall in love with each, for they have their particular charms. I have kept photos of some of those places – at that time, I shot with my analog camera.


What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?

I would like to create a program in Latin America to help autistic children express their emotions through photography.


How would you describe your visual style?

My visual style is a mix of artistic and photojournalistic styles. I like to create a fusion between the subject and the environment, play with light, take risks when composing, while telling real stories. I think behind each image, there is a story to tell.

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How do you find your inspiration?

Movies, exhibitions, music, books, my favorites photographers (Jeremy Cowart, Sebastiao Salgado, Joey Lawrence), and Pope Francisco.


Tell us about your career.  How did you get into it?

My career started by accident. I never liked weddings as it seemed like a very boring and stressful job. One day, a friend of mine called asking to take photos of her wedding – my reaction was: WHAT ? WEDDINGS ? I do not like weddings and I have never done one! She insisted and so I offered to shoot her wedding for free, as it was all at her own risk, and she accepted. I am an old-school photographer – at that time, I did not have a digital camera, so I did the whole wedding with my analogue. For my good fortune, everything came out perfect – beautiful photos and my friend was the happiest bride on this planet. And so began my path into photography. For ten years, I was a wedding photographer, until one day, I wanted to change it up. I was always passionate about fashion and so I started working for modeling agencies, clothing brands, and editorials. Actually, I’m a portrait and brand photographer, based in Santiago de Chile and traveling when necessary for assignments. I love what I do.


What types of photography do you do?

I am a portrait photographer and working for a few brands in Chile, but I have worked in all genres of photography. What I am most passionate about is editorial photography – I love to create a concept, work as a team, and then see the final result in a magazine, campaign, or book.

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What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?

Starting over every time I move from one country to another. The fact of starting from scratch and that in your previous location, people knew you, put their trust in you and your work. It’s difficult to start over – it can take you at least two years to boot up again.


Of the photos you’ve taken, which three are your favorite?

One of my favorites is of a man who lives in the street, and his name is Nelson. He told me that he asks for money just to feed the street dogs.

The second is of Mrs. Carmen, another humble lady I met in the streets of Santiago, and one day, I decided to take my camera to photograph her and she told me her story. In fact, National Geographic Chile published my photo in their networks.

The last, and perhaps the one most powerfully etched into my memory, is a photo I took of the World Trade Center, years after 9/11 when they began rebuilding. There was an iron cross in the middle of nowhere, an incredible silence, and I remember that I stayed a couple of minutes without even being able to move from all the thoughts that were flooding through my head. With much respect, I lifted my camera to photograph the cross. The image represents a moment in time where I lived most intensely.

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Nelson.

Photography is competitive.  How do you stand out?

I think all markets are competitive, the key is how you sell your work, your marketing strategies, your connection to your audience and your authenticity. Word of mouth is the best advertising. Each artist has their own identity and style – each artist is unique.


What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?

My best advice for someone is to go out every day with their camera. Street and the mundane serve as great subjects to train the eye and learn the language of light. Find your own seal, inspire others, but do not copy – look for connection between your camera and your soul and let it flow.


How do you express yourself through your photography?

Expressing myself through photography is to create, to let my essence speak, to connect with my environment and people. Expression through my images is what I love to do.


Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?

I am always creating personal projects, but currently, I do not have any on the table. A couple of years ago, I worked on two nice personal projects that gave me great satisfaction – one of them with children with Down Syndrome, and the other, a project called The Body Project, dedicated to women who showed their bodies after pregnancy.


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What is your most life-changing event?

Four years ago, I lost three friends, one after another and that made me see life differently. We are fragile and we have no guarantee of anything – nothing is certain. That’s why I live one day at a time, without worrying about what will come tomorrow. I live to the fullest and I enjoy everything that God and life give me – I enjoy my family and friends and I am grateful everyday.


What will you be doing five years from now?

Well, for now, I just try to focus on my daily life, but I definitely see myself traveling around the world, sharing my knowledge, working for well-known brands, and doing something positive for this world.


What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I think the craziest thing I’ve done was when I decided to move from London to the U.S., without even knowing what I would do, without work, with no place to live, and no friends. I think it was a great adventure, but very risky one.


What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?

I have always wanted to work for some international non-profit organization and work as a documentary photographer to shoot social realities of the world.


For anyone that wants to get in touch with Vero, here’s some contact information:

FStop: Profile

Website: https://verophotoart.wix.com/photo

FacebookProfile

Instagram: @verophotoart | @verophotoart_brand

Flickr: Profile

Tumblr: Page

500px: Profile

WordPress: Page


Vero, thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!

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