Self Taught Photographers

For people who have no education in photography, and have learned everything on their own, including the software they use to edit, treat, and process their photos.

Our very first featured artist *Maree Cardinale*

Heather King Heather King 149 posts

We are very proud to present Self Taught Photographers first Featured Artist of the month! Maree Cardinale!
Looking upon Maree’s work, you come away from the experience with questions, as each photograph she creates tells a story that leaves you wanting to know more. Whether she is capturing the beauty of nature or the soul of a person always I am left drawn to her work wondering what goes through her artistic and creative mind:)

First off can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what it is like to live in your part of the world? I see your gorgeous nature shots and imagine you live near a little part of heaven?

“hmmm let’s see, I’m impulsive, but grounded. A dreamer, and a doer. A skeptical optimist. Have always been involved in one art/craft or another. Becoming obsessed for awhile, getting my fill of it, and moving onto something else… until now. I was born a poet and that just is so much part of who I am that I don’t even think about it anymore. There is a rhythm that resides
in me and is expressed through most of what I do. Photography has become my over-riding love and she owns every part of me (in the nicest possible way!) :)
I am very passionate and vocal about animal rights
issues. I do eat meat but abhor factory farming. I believe if we are to eat meat we have a responsibility to ensure that the animals live a good life right up until their slaughter (no point prettying up that fact). Shopping is a powerful tool. Supply and demand. If we choose free range products over factory farmed ones then we are helping to create a betterworld for animals such as chickens, pigs, ducks etc. I live in the Macedon Ranges, a very beautiful part of Victoria, Australia. Every day I thank the powers that be for such wonder. As you know life can throw you a blinder and your world can change in an instant. I am mindful of that and remind myself to appreciate what I have here and now. I live with my husband of 22 years marriage, our 20 year old son, our three
dogs, who are as much part of our family as each human member, and the cat. :)”

Who are some of your favorite photographers?

“My husband Jules, my sister’s portraits (”Colleen Milburn":, Andrzej Dragan, LOTS
of people from here (too many to mention). I tend to lean towards excellent street photography and street portraiture as my favourite type of photos. I do really love shapes and patterns in our environment as well :)

This one, ‘linear beauty’ is like a marriage of the two :)"

Who or what would you say your biggest inspiration is?

“I am addicted to life. The world we live in inspires me every day in every way. I know that sounds corny but it is true. My husband is also a great inspiration to me. He has been taking photos since he was 13. As often happens, life gets in the way of our passions and his was put on the back burner till fairly recently (18 months ago).
When I become involved with photography in a live, breathe, dream type of 24 hour obsession (I have an addictive personality) he took it up again as well. He teaches me a lot and our enthusiasm bounces off each other. I feel very lucky in this regard.”

Do you prefer color or black and white?

“Black and White. I tend to think I observe them differently. With colour I take the whole image in, with B&W I focus in more on the details, delight in the textures, taste every part of the image bit by bit. I love black and white. I feel it strips an image back to its bare essentials and there is an honesty there that speaks to me. However some photos forbid me to convert them… some just work better in colour :)”

Your black and whites exude so much emotion, gazing upon your emotive black and white portraits each one has a story to tell. Not only are you exceptionally creative, but the editing and clarity are superb.How long usually do you work on editing a piece?*

“Thanks Heather, I’m so pleased you think so. It all depends whether I am manipulating the image further than a simple conversion to B&W (and the tweaks associated with that) :) I could spend a few minutes with some to several hours with others. I get lost in time and space when I am editing. Total absorption.”

Your photography involving the sky/clouds/moon is phenomenal. I could spend hours getting lost in your nature scenes. What goes through your mind when you are a witness to such beauty?

“Sheer joy, humility, a sense of gratitude that I am alive and in the here and now and am able to be a part of it all. I do love our country and the scenery, and all the little things that makes Australia unique but I also ABSOLUTELY love street photography and relish spending time in the city indulging in this wonderful pastime. It’s fast-paced, thrilling, and I lose myself completely in the moment.”

Blowing out the bad is deeply thought provoking and grabs our attention. I am impressed by every aspect of this. Can you tell us a little more about ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and Aspergers?

“Thanks for asking Heather. All in all life is very difficult for Jordy and for those around him. It is very easy to dislike a person with these disorders… as a family member you have to look for the good that exists as well. His school has been very good with coping with and trying to help Jordy. Hopefully time will water down the symptoms. In children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), there is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with the youngster’s day to day functioning. Symptoms of ODD may include:
Frequent temper tantrums.
Excessive arguing with adults.
Often questioning rules.
Active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules.
Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people.
Blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior.
Often being touchy or easily annoyed by others.
Frequent anger and resentment.
Mean and hateful talking when upset.
Spiteful attitude and revenge seeking.
Symptoms of ASPERGER syndrome:More males than females are diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. While every
person who has the syndrome will experience different symptoms and severity of symptoms, some of the more common characteristics include:
Average or above-average intelligence.
Difficulties with high-level language skills such as verbal reasoning, problem solving, making inferences and predictions.
Difficulties in empathizing with others.
Problems with understanding another person’s point of view.
Difficulties engaging in social routines such as conversations and‘small talk’.
Problems with controlling feelings such as anger, depression and anxiety.
A preference for routines and schedules which can result in stress or anxiety if a routine is disrupted.
Specialized fields of interest or hobbies.”

I am deeply curious about ‘To live in hope’ and everything that went into this piece. I love the religious feel and optimism. Did you first set out with this idea in mind? or did it magically all form together?

“I rarely start out with an idea in mind. I find that I am directed by the image and what may start to be a simple process turns into something with countless layers. (Strictly my own photography, not stock images). It tells me what to try, what to do, it’s like a domino effect and is only finished when it tells me it is… and then I think ‘’oh, so that’s what you are”. :)"

When did you first start taking photographs? What camera do you use?

“Moving on from just being a normal happy snapper, to someone who can’t get enough of it was really quite recent. 18 months ago… I feel I have done a 10 year apprenticeship crammed into this time. I wake up thinking about it, go to sleep thinking about it, dream about it, and spend the rest of the day taking photos and editing. I actually now have (still
early stages) a successful product photography business and every aspect of getting there was a STEEP SCARY learning curve. A huge leap forward in my technical know-how. Which has been very gratifying. However it is my fine art photography (that doesn’t really give me any financial reward to speak of) that feeds my soul. It sounds cliche but that is what it does. It fills me up with joy and satisfaction and helps keep my eternal hunger sated. :) 18 months ago I was using a
Powershot SX10, then moved onto the Powershot SX40 (great little camera with amazing zoom), then got a Canon 600D, then sold that and now use a Canon 5D Mark III with various lenses. Brilliant camera, love, love, love it. Quite a lot heavier than my earlier ones though.I learn something new everyday. From necessity, from others, by accident lol. I still have SO MUCH to learn. What a thrilling journey this is!”

Do you remember the first photograph you ever took? What work are you most proud of?

“No I can’t sorry. I remember the first two photos I took that I thought, ‘wow, that’s pretty good’. Just
Barbed Wire
It’s difficult to say what my favourite is right now. I think most of us tend to like our latest ones till the rose coloured glasses become clearer after a couple of days haha. If I had to choose right in this instant, I would say
Crossing Over,
Chiaroscuro and
Religious Order., which I’ve just posted.”

“THANK YOU so very much Heather for asking me to be your first featured artist in the Self Taught Photographers group. I am thrilled, stunned and really, really chuffed. I am aware I am in so many ways a beginner, and that there are so many more deserving photographers than me out there. I have so much to learn and imagine I will be learning till the day I die.
I actually hope that I DON’T develop a recogniseable style. My interests are endless and I can’t and won’t focus on one field or style. I just hope to keep evolving.
Much love and gratitude.
Maree xox”

lcretyi lcretyi 1895 posts

Beautiful Work by a most impressive artist! Congratulations


Randy Turnbow Randy Turnbow 764 posts

Wonderful write-up and insight. Tremendous work Maree, keep it up! Thanks for the “first of” feature Heather, great stuff!

Daniel  Parent Daniel Parent 21 posts

A nice of images and an enjoyable read; congratulations Maree and Heather for your choice

labaker labaker 125 posts

Very impressive work by a passionate, gifted artist, congrats :)


Maree Cardinale Maree Cardinale 1880 posts

Thank you Laura, Randy, Daniel and Larry for your kind, supportive comments xox

Maree Cardinale Maree Cardinale 1880 posts

Heather thanks so much for this, WHAT A BUZZ!! :)
PLUS I LOVE how you have arranged the feature page and included some of my favourites THANK YOU xxx

Berns Berns 3034 posts

Fabulous M, many i haven’t seen before, just love your creativity! A well deserved honour, Congrats!


great reading !

✿✿ Bonita ✿✿ ђєℓℓσ ✿✿ Bonita ✿✿ ђ... 10458 posts

☻/ღ˚ •。* ♥ ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ ˚ .ღ 。
/▌˛˚ღ •˚ ˚…just sprinkling a little Love on your page. ~♥~˚ ✰* ★
/ \ ˚. ★ ˛ ˚♥ ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ ♥ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღCongratulations Maree hugs Wonderful pictures and captures,Nice creativity,Nice write up enjoyable reading.., and layout Heather Wonderfuly done and presented hugs

Guendalyn Guendalyn 2327 posts


Maree Cardinale Maree Cardinale 1880 posts

Thank you so much Berns, Sylvia and Bonita xoxoxoxox

Maree Cardinale Maree Cardinale 1880 posts

awwwww thanks G, I love you too :)))))

Thomas Eggert Thomas Eggert 439 posts

Congratulations Marie !!!!!! Well deserved:)))

Maree Cardinale Maree Cardinale 1880 posts

Thanks Thomas xox