Mariana Gil - Visual Artist, Photographer with a Master Degree in Semiotics


Mariana Gil


Where are you from?

My name is Mariana Gil, I am a Brazilian photographer and visual artist based in Aarhus.

What is your background?

I have a master degree in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus university and I'm interested in how the aesthetics and formal aspects of an image can elicit a certain mood on the viewer.

When did you started with Photography?

I got my first camera after moving to Denmark in 2013. My idea was to have a tool to work on my portfolio and other projects, but soon I discovered all the potential that can explored in photography as a medium. The portfolio project ended not so well, but I started taking pictures instead and I am happy for that shift.

What was the project that you enjoyed the most?

It is difficult to narrow down to one single project that made an impact on me, but I like going out and taking pictures at the streets, not knowing what I will find in the end. Even if you try to plan a shooting, the reality is always more complex than our ideas, which means there will always be some surprises waiting to be discovered out there.

For me, harsh weather usually means good pictures and I like taking pictures at the edge of darkness. For that reason, Denmark has been a generous land and I am usually thrilled to take pictures during the winter.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for a Photographer in the 21st Century?

The biggest challenge for a photographer in the 21st century is to compete with all the new apparatus and technologies that are available right now. Everybody has a camera and publishes their own content on the internet and most of the time without analyzing carefully if what they are sharing has a relevance or something to offer for the viewers. We are involuntarily exposed to a vast number of images every single day, which can be quite overwhelming.

Our engagement with them is rather superficial, as one image can be scanned in just a few milliseconds and we can swipe to the next one. Over and over. Our role as photographers is to create images that can go beyond the surface level, images that might slow down this flux and stick out from the noise, because they have something to offer. We need to create a different form of engagement with the content we are sharing and think about the context we are creating to offer a visual experience.

Why did you decide to join Aarhus Makers?

I joined Aarhus Makers because I saw a good opportunity to meet with the local community and to partner up and share my experience with other creative minds. I believe there is an enormous potential in the project and I am excited to be part of it.

What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become a photographer?

My advice to anybody who wants to become a photographer is: just go out there and start shooting now! Nobody is good at something without practice. So, practice a lot and be patient. Surround yourself with what inspires you, go to museums.

You don’t need the best gear to start learning, start with what you have. It is important to understand how the camera works, but a good picture is not always about the gear, it is also a view point, frame, composition.

You need to be connected with your surroundings and with what is happening. Aim for the best outstanding image every single time you press the button, even though it might not be “the one”, but sometimes it will be. Think about what is the story you want to tell. You need to see first and the camera will be just a tool for you to engage with the world.  

Visit Mariana's website here.