You were born and raised in Norway, educated in Spain, lived in Guatemala, and worked in Rio de Janeiro (with other countries sprinkled in between). How has traveling influenced your photography and vice versa?
It’s always fun to take pictures in new places. It’s all new to me, and of course I get inspired! But, even in places I have been before, I always see something or a situation that maybe would be fun in a picture.
These photos are all of your every day life in Rio. What’s your history with the city and what keeps you coming back to Brazil?
It started with my friend. She lived in Norway for a year and a half, 14 years ago now. When she moved back to Rio, I came to visit her. Her family is very nice and I always feel very welcome, almost like part of the family. So I came back again and again, and I still do. Now I live by myself, but I always go visit them. People here are very nice, and neighbors and friends are all kind of like family. I like life in Rio. Even though people are struggling, they still go on with a smile.
What inspired you to play with the look of each photo?
I like vivid colors and contrast.
What’s your shooting process like?
I guess it’s kind of like a diary. I shoot when I see something… It’s like snap shots. I always take out my camera if there is something that I want to capture, and that is almost everyday. Some times they turn out good, other times not.
It’s just for fun, but who knows if I could get use out of them in the future. There are a lot of good memories in all of my photographs.
These are all taken with an iPhone. Is it your camera of choice when shooting these loose life shots?
An iPhone is very easy to carry, and doesn’t draw too much attention. You can’t walk around everywhere in Rio with a big camera. So the iPhone gives me the ability to take pictures almost anywhere. It’s also more discrete, so people don’t notice me taking the pictures, and it’s more natural. Of course the quality is not as good as a real camera, so that’s the bad side of it.
Maria L Zamarripa Hjellnes is a Norwegian who hates cold weather.