Mary Santistevan: Life Behind the Lens

In a world of iPhone cameras, one talented, passionate, and beautiful woman is proving that photography is far beyond Instagram likes. Meet Mary Santistevan, a senior at the U studying Photography. Mary has been taking pictures since she was a child and fell madly in love with life behind the camera. On April 15, Mary will be one of the five students being featured in the show Kin, she says that “we’ve become a little family,” and with their support, Mary is ready to capture the world.

Her Campus Utah: Obviously, you are extremely talented! How old were you when you became interested in photography?

MS: My interest with photography started when I was about 12. I would take photos of my sister in the backyard with my pink point-and-shoot. I started doing photography seriously my sophomore year of high school; I started out by doing film photography, moved to digital and learned skills in Photoshop and then became the Photo Editor for my high school’s newspaper when I was a senior. At orientation for the U, they told us to go with the specific college group to meet advisors even if we had only a small idea of what we wanted to do, so I followed the art students to the concrete building few people knew about, signed up for photo classes and never left.

Her Campus Utah: What is your favorite part about photography?

MS: That is a hard question, what don’t I love about photography? I love the creative options that photography gives you. There’s film, alternative, digital, manipulated photography and many others to be used, but more importantly the control I have with photography is what I love. I pick the subject, the lighting, the angle and pretty much every variable that happens. I can create any photo I want to.

Her Campus Utah: You are having a HUGE gallery coming up, what are you most excited for?

MS: We’re showing at the Architectural Nexus building, which is a corporate office that has been gracious enough to give us their space for the night to set up a one-night-gallery. I think what I’m most excited for is showing with the four other artists that are involved [Alexis Hansen, Rebekah O’Driscoll, Stephanie Espinoza and Sam Trefaller] and presenting our work to the public. We’ve all been working on these projects all semester and some of us, since last fall, so we’re really excited to have a final product.

Her Campus Utah: Explain what the gallery is for and the themes being shown!

MS: As seniors, we have a Senior Portfolio class and during the spring semester, we are encouraged to find a space outside of the art building to showcase our work. In this show we have multiple themes! My work is photographing the human body in an abstract way. Other themes include street photography, how we see the human face, photographs as objects and unconventional portraits.

Her Campus Utah: How did you select the images you wanted to showcase?

MS: The series I’m including in the show has been one that I have been working on since the fall semester. Personally, I think it’s my best series and it’s the one that I feel is the strongest and am the most proud to show. The concept of the body as an abstract from has kept my attention for a long time and it’s been my favorite to photograph.


Her Campus Utah: What is your favorite element to photograph?

MS: I love to photograph people because I love working with people. Photographing the human form is so interesting [to] me because it can give you a different photo every time. Whether it’s different just because of the person or the emotion, there is so much you can do with using people in photographs.

Her Campus Utah: What advice do you have for others interested in photography?

MS: Take pictures of everything and anything you want to! It’s so easy to get inspired by one photo because before you know it, you’ll find what you love to photograph and you can just run with it. Also, look at art and other people’s photography, don’t compare yourself, but be inspired by other people’s photographs too.

Her Campus Utah: With graduation right around the corner, what is next for you and for your art?

MS: Right now, I have a job working for a company doing corporate event photography. It’s not exactly the art field but it’s an exciting job that involves doing what I love. As far as art goes, I definitely plan to keep doing it on the side. My next idea is to photograph the scars that people have in a beautiful way.

We can’t wait to see Mary and her photography at the gallery on April 15th at the Architectural Nexus Building (2505 Parleys Way, SLC, UT 84109) from 5-9pm. Mary is such a beautiful and inspiring woman, bringing a positive energy and an element of fun to all that she does and we know she’s going to capture the most delicate and gorgeous parts of the world! Thanks for being our featured celebrity of the week, Mary!