Renowned photographer Mara Sommer has established herself as one of the country’s most esteemed fashion photographers. Hailing from Europe, her ability to capture a story, evoke a certain mood and deftly find the balance between fantasy and reality has earned her multiple covers on NZ’s top publications and enormous respect throughout the industry. Mara describes life's balance between motherhood and profession as an inspiration in itself, inspired by her children and happy in her creativity. We spoke with Mara about such inspiration, the path that led her to photography and a personal style that embodies both comfort and style. Read more.
Laing SS2021 Campaign by Mara Sommer
Tell us about your career as a photographer - what were the defining moments that led you to a life behind the lens?
From the age of about 17 years, I knew I wanted to be a photographer. A family friend works as a photographer and inspired me. After school, I studied photography in Germany. When I visited New Zealand for the first time and started as a photo assistant, I got really interested in fashion photography. I like to dream up a story and invite the viewer into this world.
Give us an insight into your daily life.
I have two little kids aged four and one. They keep me very busy when I am not shooting. I always try to make sure I have a good balance between being a mum and working as a photographer, both make me happy, but it’s also nice to have breaks from both.
You create such inspiring imagery, how do you stay inspired yourself?
I get inspiration from day to day life, but also Instagram. At the moment it is actually my 4 year old daughter who inspires me the most. How she thinks, how she draws, helps me to see things from a different view. I sometimes give her a little camera. It’s very interesting to see what images she comes back with. The angles, her view on the world and what interests her. There is no rule applied, no restrictions. This can be quite random and lots of images are not interesting, but then there is the odd image where I think this is actually great.
When are you at your happiest?
I am very happy when I am shooting and can be creative.
I am also happy when I am in nature with my kids (no dishes, no housework, no computers and best of all no phone either). A balance of both is what makes me happy.
How would you describe your own personal style? What is the key to a successful outfit?
My personal style I guess is, in a way, to be comfortable. Wide jeans, oversize shirts and jumpers. I like clean and simple garments, no pattern, one colour. A successful outfit for me is to feel comfortable and at the same time be stylish.
Which piece are you coveting from Laing's new Spring/Resort collection?
I like the boyfriend shirt in icy blue. It’s exactly my style and I love the light fabric which is perfect for summer.
How will you be wearing/styling this piece as we head into spring? What will you be wearing it with?
I possibly will be wearing wide jean and depending on the occasion the shirt tucked in or out.
What do you admire most about Laing?
I like the simple and clean lined styles. Also the colour range is great. And of course that the pieces and high-quality fabrics are very comfortable to wear.
Watch Mara Sommers Laing SS2021 Campaign