About Maria, Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society
After being run over twice with multiple head injuries and 15 fractures , heavy internal bleeding and needing almost 30 operations at hospitals such as Great Ormond Street in London, Leeds in Yorkshire and Bromley Hospital, Kent, and despite being told she would not live or walk again, Maria followed her dream to learn how to walk again, picked up a camera and followed her passion to learn about sharks, whales, dolphins and our underwater realm. She has been taking photographs with film, digital SLRs, Mirrorless, Compact as well as with her iPhone.
Since 2001 she has encountered all kinds of wildlife both above and underwater and has launched Shark Conservation Campaigns with our Deputy Prime Minister, the late Peter Benchley, filmed Frank Gardner (BBC Correspondent), photographed Stacey Soloman when she learnt how to dive in London, taught editors of Wanderlust and Sport Diver UK Magazines underwater photography, written for Amateur Photographer, DIVE, Sport Diver and Thai Airways Magazine and has also been featured in her local papers in Kent as well as women's magazine "Real" and her work has been on the front cover of the Royal Photographic Magazine. She was also lucky enough to spent a day with the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol whilst they were filming blue whales in Monterey Bay, California, as well as spending time with Steve Leonard - TV Veterinary Surgeon "Vets in Practice" - "Extreme Animals."
Maria has been giving talks on underwater photography since 2005 when she pioneered and launched the first ever courses in the world dedicated to help beginners take beautiful photographs with compact cameras at London's Excel, helping to launch PADI's Digital Underwater Photography Speciality. Since then she has regularly appeared on the Centre Stage both there and at Birmingham's NEC as well as giving talks for Calumet and many dive clubs around the country, raising money for charities such as the Scuba Trust, helping disabled people to dive, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Biteback, the Shark Trust as well as the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd. She also funded herself to go undercover in a shark and manta ray fishery in Indonesia to contribute important information to try to get these species protected at a CITES Convention in Bangkok the following year.
She has also helped two children's orphanages, The School of Hope in Mabul Island, Malaysia and another one near to Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Since this time, 22 guests have won prizes here and in the USA as well as Maria herself winning the coveted British Sub-Aqua Club's Travel Photographer of the Year Award, Bronze Medal Winner in Underwater Photography twice, reaching the Final 100 in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in 2012 as well as winning "Book of the Year" in the Dive Industry, as voted by Diver Magazine in 2011 at London's Excel Centre. She has recently launched her second book "Get Creative With Your Compact Camera."
She was invited down to Swanage by Divers Down in 2012 and after working through the pandemic as Frontline A&E/ICU staff across Dorset, Hampshire and Sunderland up north, she has finally managed to follow her dream to move her studio by the sea to help those starting out with compact cameras as well as creating gifts for emergency service colleagues.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to meeting you soon.