The images of Mariana Garcia-Katz are still and spacious; there is beauty always to be found in the everyday. Space is an element of the image in its own right, worthy of closer investigation; this and texture are at the core of her work.
Mariana admits to being an admirer of Charles and Ray Eames, the American husband and wife team best known for their iconic mid-century furniture designs. But it is also their other achievements in the fields of film, fabric design, graphics, photography and architecture, that she finds inspiring. She says they were “A wonderful couple, that were acutely aware of the environment around them and how to harness technological advancements to make theirs and our world a better place. Their whole aesthetic is completely inspiring to me.”
I can see a similar kind of eloquence in Mariana’s images. I’ve loved her photography for a long time, originally discovering them through her work as m2matiz – the business that makes the t.lighthaus© and the luMierebox. These illuminated images came about from combining her photography, her skills as a graphic designer, and as a maker of things.
I asked Mariana about her approach to photography. “I don’t really have a working method, as such. I have a pretty spontaneous approach to what I do. All of the products I make, are foremost, about the image. Inspiration is all around us. The more I photograph, the more I see, the more I want to create.”
Her love grew from a childhood filled with beautiful images. “My family travelled a lot when I was growing up and my dad took loads of photos. He also loved slide film, so the combination made for incredible slide nights. I think back then people thought a bit more about the pictures they were about to take. There was such clarity and detail which, I think, seems to have been lost today.”
Mariana has worked for many years as a graphic designer, and also spent some time studying interior design and decoration.
“Photography has always been important to me, however, it developed into a real passion in 2007. The camera was with me everywhere I went. Initially, it was purely a creative outlet for me, but eventually I decided to find a way to make my passion viable.” She started out by making stationery, cards and jewellery, as well as the t.lighthaus© and luMierebox and set up m2matiz in 2009.
She started selling her wares at a small stall at a market, and it all grew from there. While she still attends several markets throughout Melbourne, she also sells through other established retailers, and on her own website, which she says, “has been a revelation”.
“After designing and creating the t.lighthaus©, [which came about very organically], I really wanted to find a way of using my images with an electric light, something more permanent. I was inspired by an old lightbox I’d purchased many years ago. My father had made plywood box shelving for our home and I thought a similar construction would make fabulous lightboxes. So, there began the idea. Dad made up a few prototype boxes, fine tuning materials and finish.” She says the design was then further tweaked and honed, to become what it is today.
She works from a studio at the back of her home in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury. “It is nice being away from the house and it has a different vibe. There is great natural light and plenty of space, so I can relax and spread out. It is great to turn the music up and think about my next creation or cut, stamp and tie with string.”
But the house is good too. One of her most favourite things is the north light that spills in through her back living/dining/kitchen space. “I’m very much inspired by the shadow play on the walls, ceiling and objects. I can’t but pick up either my Nikon or iPhone to capture something that changes in an instant.” (Her home was featured on The Design Files last year! You can check some images here.)
Her best piece of advice? She has two. “I can hear my parents say, ‘What ever you do, always do your best’… I try to live by this. And to quote Charles Eames, ‘Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.'”
You can find more of Mariana’s images, as well as the t.lighthaus© and the luMierebox on her website – www.m2matiz.com.
With thanks to Mariana for sharing her words and images here.