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Who is Mary Hinsen?

Updated: May 3, 2023

“Each of us has a real capacity for originality, but originality is very, very hard to get to. It takes real work. I think people don’t quite realise how much work it takes to be a good artist.”

Roberta Smith, Art Critic for The New York Times

Digital images are everywhere. Anyone can be a digital artist and photographer today. However, the pictures we see haven’t really changed, nor have the ground rules for making good images. We still have that need to create and share pictures to mark points in time, that give meaning to experiences, create memories we refer to when we have moved on in our lives.

This is where I started, taking pictures that had meaning for me, and also where I am now – creating images with meaning. The difference is in what I have learned and what I am still learning on my journey as a photographic artist. The sea change for me was realising I love to share my photographic stories. I can narrate these stories in my own voice, but in a way that people can describe their own, personal stories from my images.

From the moment I became brave enough to share my photos, people would compare my images to those of other photographers. I began to emulate those photographers who were so much better than me and who had attained far greater fame. This seemed to be my creative life – always learning new techniques, showing new images, and always being compared to others.

I didn’t know my own ‘style’. It was all great learning – but I had started looking so hard at other peoples’ work that I had lost my self.

The crunch point: What should I do? The answer came. Stay on my own, unique path. Focus on my own unique vision. I went on workshops and sought mentors – but stopped copying. I began to see a difference. My path began to separate, heading off towards my own artistic destination. From time to time, my path still dovetails with others, but only for a while. I am headed elsewhere.

It’s the separation that makes all the difference. And once I began to see the difference between my work and the work of others I admire, I had broken through.

I have won awards for some of my images. My images are showcased in galleries, homes, websites, magazines. My vision has taken off. I am constantly learning and experimenting, but now my experiments are enhancing the differences between my own art and what or who influenced it.

I have found creative continuity in my personal journey of photography. Why? Because I stay on the path, and my vision is clear.

I am a photographer who tells visual stories. My stories and yours. Stories transcend photographic genres; they are so much more than a recipe of techniques. My photographic style is that of a storyteller. My vision is to create images that make you curious, that tell you a story with emotion and meaning, tell stories that get told again and again.

Mary Hinsen is a photographer, mother, grandmother and writer, known for her award-winning portraits, fine art and motorsport images. She lives in the beautiful Central Otago region of New Zealand.

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