BRAVING UNKNOWN TERRITORY: PHOTOGRAPHER & TRAVELER MARISA IGLESIAS

BY ANGELINA PERINO


 

“Traveling is both humbling and empowering, one of the most worthwhile educations you can give yourself.” –MARISA IGLESIAS

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Some of us simply have an inherent desire to travel– to seek the beauty of architecture that has withstood centuries of storms and remained true while its surroundings adapted to the changes of time, to explore unknown territory, to learn from and better understand cultures different from our own. These people posses a natural courage and a beautiful ability to let experiences mold them into the people they have the capacity to become.

With her skill behind the camera lens, photographer and travel enthusiast Marisa Iglesias shows how powerful the art of photography can be with its stunning ability to tell the story of a place, monument, weathered building, crumbling stone wall, or person.


Angelina Perino: Where are you from originally? 
Marisa Iglesias: I’m originally from the southwest, born & raised in New Mexico. The state nickname is “Land of Enchantment” & I’m convinced it’s one of the hidden gems of the U.S. It’s a place unlike any other, full of desertscapes, green chile, mountains, turquoise, art galleries, national parks, & horizons that are truly endless.

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AP: You’re currently based in New York City. What brought you there?
MI: I moved to New York late summer & am in love with my new city. I visited for the first time when I was sixteen and knew I wanted to live in the city  for a bit as a young adult. So when a work opportunity popped up, I ran hard after it. The position came with free housing (a HUGE blessing in a city like New York) and offered a combination of things I love– people, photography & ministry. It was a no brainer!

AP: You’ve lived in a wide variety of cities! How do they compare to one another– D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and now New York City?
MI: Each city holds a special place in my heart because of the pivotal life experiences I encountered in each one. D.C. is one of the best cities to be a tourist because of the rich history it holds, the bounty of museums & monuments (most of which are free), and its regal beauty.

At first look, LA is quintessential SoCal– beaches, bougie shopping, the iconic Hollywood sign. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a city where desert meets beach, where trendiness meets iconic, where international meets the heartbeat of American culture.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetSAN BLAS ISLANDS, PANAMA

I always call Chicago a ‘cleaner New York.’ Yet they are two incredibly distinguishable world-class cities. Chicago is a city full of people who are both very kind & very hardworking; Chicago’s architecture is famously phenomenal & while Chicago winters are infamous, it only feeds Chicagoans grit & pride.

My current home, New York City, is one of a kind. I never [grow tired] of exploring the endless neighborhoods & museums, coffee shops & parks. To walk New York is to know New York, and if you’re willing to put in the miles, the city will reward you. The beauty of New Yorkers lies in the fact that they can be born & raised in the city or have just moved to the city last month– every resident of the city, whether lifelong or on their first lease, can claim this city as their own.

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AP: What did you want to be when you were young?
MI: I said I wanted to be an actress, but I really just wanted to be fabulous & famous. Clearly, I was a shallow little girl!

AP: Let’s talk about your growing career as a photographer. What called you to it?
MI: I’ve always loved being a part of capturing moments. As a child, I shamelessly loved stepping in front of the camera. But I first discovered my love for being the one behind the camera at the end of my sophomore year of college. I was in charge of taking photos for an event one weekend and couldn’t put the camera down. When I finally got my own camera, I brought it along on every trip thereafter. I realized how much I enjoyed documenting new places and capturing how people interact with those places.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetPARIS, FRANCE

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetPARIS, FRANCE

AP: What is it about the art that makes it unique from others? What really pulls you in?
MI: As an avid art museum goer, there’s no medium I do not appreciate. However, photography is one that never ceases to enchant me. It has a poignant ability to capture a moment in time that can be both archaic & relevant to future audiences, a truly transcending form of communication. Photography allows one to pause & appreciate a subject that can otherwise be easily ignored. When the rest of the world insists on turning a blind eye, photography offers the subject respect & dignity [through] simply seeing.

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AP: You’ve traveled to a number of beautiful places and taken stunning photographs. I’d love to hear about those experiences abroad. Why do you feel travel is rewarding?
MI: I come from a family of passionate travelers. Summer vacations took us on countless road trips across the U.S. I’m a huge advocate for exploring America before going abroad. Two summers ago was my first time across the Atlantic– a two month trip starting in Jerusalem and traveling west to finish in London. It was an epic summer, full of pita lunches in Jerusalem, afternoons amongst Greek ruins, meandering Roman alleys, climbing Florentine duomos, hiking up & down Swiss Alps, and strolling through English gardens.

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It was an epic summer, full of pita lunches in Jerusalem, afternoons amongst Greek ruins, meandering Roman alleys, climbing Florentine duomos, hiking up & down Swiss Alps, and strolling through English gardens.

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Traveling is both humbling and empowering, one of the most worthwhile educations you can give yourself. There’s nothing like arriving in a different country where you can’t speak the language and are clearly not a local, to keep you humble and full of gumption. And yet after navigating your way around, befriending some locals, learning & experiencing the culture, you leave the country with a spirit of appreciation & empowerment.

AP: What is one of the greatest challenges or fears you face each day in your work? How do you rise above it?
MI: Stagnancy. If ever I feel I’m not growing or moving forward, I challenge myself to pinpoint what it is that needs to change & I seek counsel. I am thankful to have family & friends who are wise, competent and quick to listen & encourage.

AP: From what do you draw your inspiration?
MI: People & places, both new & old.

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ISRAEL

AP: Name someone, past or present, whom you look up to? Why?
MI: My sisters. They are each game-changers in their various fields: a future lawyer, architect & teacher. They live each day with conviction, integrity & spice and inspire me to do the same.

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AP: What are three things you cannot live without?
MI: Kombucha, long walks & my pearl earrings.

AP: Do you have a favorite saying or quote that you turn to in order to stay grounded?
MI: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild & precious life?” -Mary Oliver


WRITTEN BY ANGELINA PERINO
PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY MARISA IGLESIAS

See more of Marisa’s travels and photography | @iglesiasmarisa | marisaleighiglesias.com

Follow The Artists’ Cove on Instagram for daily photos, updates, & behind the scenes content | @theartistscove

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