A couple of weeks ago, one of Runaway's owners and lead interview correspondents caught up with photographer and social influencer Andriana Maria. During the interview, a number of subjects were touched upon, including The Figure Skater Project, her top 3 social network pet peeves, staying true to yourself, and more. Andriana is a 21 year old photographer living on the east coast. With her photography skills, social awareness, and beautiful aesthetic, she has quickly developed a large loyal following. Check out the interview below and be sure to give her a follow on Instragram.
RM:: To start things off, when did your passion for photography begin? Your work has gotten better and better over time.
A: Well I guess it started in a few different ways. When I was 6 my dad took me to an Ansel Adams photo exhibit in Chicago and I guess I told my dad I wanted to be a photographer like that when I got older... But I was 6 not like I had ever picked up a camera haha. Then I remember as a kid always sneaking into my dads studio and would steal his Polaroid camera. Then when I was a freshman in high school id take my tiny digital camera to shows and would take (shitty) pics of the band that we're playing. I realize I really liked it so I told my parents and they told me to prove I wanted to be a photographer so I'd use that camera for about 2 years and eventually they bought me a canon.
But I guess my passion for film has probably been in me before I even realized and started really working with film.
RM: So while on the topic of photography, tell me about the Figure Skater Project. I feel such an intimate connection with some of your photos and that's a lifestyle I know nothing about!
A: Ahh, the figure skater project is a look into the world of figure skaters but it's also a way to tell a larger story about the world, far larger than just the world of figure skating. I don't think a lot of people see the skater lifestyle like you said, so I want to show it to the world because I know there is a story to tell there. I'm making the photographs with a 4x5 view camera. I tried making photos of skaters with a digital camera 35mm camera, and a Mamiya RB67. But none of them were getting the results I wanted, technically and conceptually. I'm using the 4x5 because it's a camera that requires a great deal from me and the subject. Since it's a camera not everyone has seen in person, I think it gets my subject to respond differently and in a way they might not have been able to with a camera they are used to photographing them. With the 4x5 and my connection to them, they show me something deeper than just a portrait of themselves
RM: I love that you are bringing film back. In such a digital age, a different level of skill is required to work film, and it shows who is truly passionate in the art of photography and not just clout on Instagram.
A: Thank you! Yeah I think the millennial generation was brought up in a world of over the top digital technology, we are used to it, it doesn't impress us too much anymore, and I think a lot of us want to get back to the roots and get the raw side of things.
RM: Speaking of Instagram, you have quite the following! What is the main thing that you think attracts people to your page and how important is it that you maintain a certain persona to your followers?
A: Unfortunately I think the way I look is what attracts most initially. But that's how a lot of things in life are. I know everyone isn't going to see who I am as a whole person but I do think that over time and after following me for a while people do realize that I do have a life, and thoughts and passions and I'm more than the way I look. I think that's why people stick around to follow me. of course there are still going to be some that continue to follow based on my looks but like I said not everyone's gonna see everything. If anything I'm trying to change my persona but at the same time I'm not. My Instagram following started growing when I was simply using my IG as a place to take selfies and pics with friends, I was younger. I probably cared too much about the way I looked. But I've never been the type to only want to be known for looks. I was just caught up in the hype of IG. Now I want people to see the real me if I'm going to put myself out there anyway.
RM: I think an approach like yours needs to become more popular. Far too often are people displaying themselves solely for physical purposes. You seem to have found a very healthy combination of substance and aesthetic and that is what really makes hitting that "follow" button worthwhile.
RM: What is the next step our generation can take to actually work towards being the change that we wish to see in the world?
A: I think it comes down to caring about the greater good than just caring about what satisfies the self. I think we all need to feel connected to everyone and truly care and have compassion for those we do not know personally and might never know, people who live all over the world.
RM: I truly feel like our generation is caught in a tornado of confusion, lies and unrealistic expectations. Politics aren't something we exactly embrace, the traditional 9-5 makes us sick, communication is easier than ever and these are all things that we receive backlash for from the older generations.
A: Exactly, a lot of the time it’s even our own generation trash talking the rest of us.
RM: What kind of advice would you give to an individual looking to use social media to showcase both physical/mental substance?
A: I'd just say remember who you are. There are going to be people who tell you that you're nothing other than your looks and that's the only reason people give a fuck about you. You just have to remember that's not true, if you know yourself, those people won't get to you. Just know that your looks aren't a crime, your sexuality is no one’s problem but their own. Don't let people diminish you to just being a pretty face or a nice body, we are all more than that.
RM: What are 3 Social network "No No's" that you stay true to? (Things that you would never use social media for or things people should never do while on social media)
A: One, Poor quality selfies that look like they were taken with a toaster or something. Get some good lighting please. Two, average food pics seem kinda dumb to me.. I'm not gonna post my Taco Bell I got Drunkenly at 3am. Three, messy room selfies... I Hate when I see people post mirror selfies and the don't even have a sheet on their bed
RM: Before we go, will the Figure Skating Project take most of your time, or can we expect some other projects from you in the near future?
A: I'm planning on continuing the figure skater project for years to come but I can't say that something else might spark my interest or not between them. We will see!