15 Life Lessons Learned from Maria Linz
By: Intern Margaret Wroblewski (Junior at Loyola University Maryland)
I have been tasked with the responsibility of summarizing my experience as Maria Linz’s 2015 summer intern and I find that no words can completely convey the wealth of knowledge I accrued from this experience. As many of you already know, Maria is an incredible, smart, spontaneous, creative, and generous person. I was there to help Maria with anything she needed, especially since she was pregnant with her third child; helping Maria with the little things like carrying her equipment and hydrating her. I also had the privilege of capturing candid and intimate moments between loved ones and friends, helping family members deal with logistical obstacles, and honing my skills as a photographer. Through my experience as Maria’s intern, I learned a tremendous amount about myself. More importantly, I learned some life lessons that I will carry with me forever and that I wish to share with you.
1) FOLLOW YOUR PASSION
Maria’s passion is photography. Right after college she moved in with her mom, and started her very own photography business. She followed her passion, no questions asked, and never let any obstacles get in her way. When Maria takes pictures, she is in her element. Nothing can stop her and most importantly, she is happy. I was incredibly inspired when I witnessed the intensity of the connection and focus that Maria executed with each shot. Maria is a role model for me, encouraging me to follow my passion no matter the obstacles.
2) FAMILY FIRST
On Saturday mornings before a wedding, I would typically meet Maria at her house. Observing her for those brief moments while she was surrounded by her two kids and husband, Mark, I realized the unconditional love that this family has for one another. Maria and Mark are incredible parents. They would do anything for their kids. They also have tremendous support for one another. It is extremely easy to take family for granted because they are always present. Maria taught me to always put family first no matter the situation
Also…Her husband makes music videos.
3) DO NOT BE AFRAID OF ANYTHING
Within the first 10 minutes on the morning of my first wedding, Maria ran into the middle of the road to get one photograph. Note: she was also 7 months pregnant. I thought she was completely NUTS! I soon realized the importance of not letting fear get in the way of anything, no matter what.
4) ALWAYS BRING THE GO PRO…JUST WATCH
5) CARE FOR EVERYONE, BUT YOURSELF FIRST
Many people don’t realize how difficult wedding photography really is. All one sees is the outcome, the beautiful, stunning photographs after the wedding is complete. Being behind the scenes, I saw it all. EVERYTHING. For 8 to 10 hours straight, Maria would be working: running around, telling jokes, making sure the family/bridal party was happy, communicating, photographing (all while she was pregnant)! She is seriously a super woman. Even while she was catering towards the whim of her subjects, she taught me that you cannot take care of anyone else or accomplish anything without taking care of yourself first.
6) ALWAYS DRESS THE PART
(When Maria shows up wearing the same exact color as all the brides maids)
7) LEARN FROM CRITICISM
At the end of the summer, Maria and I sat down together and reviewed all 5,000+ photographs that I took. About 75% of the photographs that I took were not up to the quality that I thought they could be. We went through every single one and she showed me how they could have been better. Each one of those mini lessons has made me improve in my own art. I am becoming more comfortable with accepting, embracing, and learning from my weaknesses.
8) CAPTURE THE WORLD AROUND YOU
Maria joins other families’ lives for just a few hours to capture their memories. Her task, as their photographer, is to stop time and to capture all of the feelings and emotions that are associated with each intimate moment. Her work touches the lives of many people. Every single day she makes an effort to capture the world around her, even if it’s just using her iPhone to take pictures of her three kids. I also love photography because it can freeze time. One photograph can change the world, motivate people to act, create connections, raise questions, bring happiness, reach millions, and change perspectives. I believe it is vital for humans to record our memories because it is a part of our legacy. It is what will be passed down from generations to generations within our families. Photographs from the past have the power to transport people back in time, relive experiences, and create happiness.
9) SELF-CONFIDENCE IS KEY
Maria is the most confident woman I have ever met. Every wedding, she would interact with 50+ strangers, telling stories, posing them, making jokes, etc. I still have no idea how she does it!!
10) TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL
Maria is incredibly adventurous. When she attended Loyola University Maryland she decided to study abroad for the year in Belgium. She traveled to over 15+ countries. In fact, I took a page from her book and decided to study abroad in Belgium for a year too! I am even in the same program and living on the same floor of the building that she lived in! She taught me the importance of traveling and experiencing different cultures. Traveling is transformative. It forces you from being dependent on everyday comforts and inspires you to learn from the people surrounding you. Life really begins at the end of your comfort zone.
11) BE PRESENT
In this technology-dependent age, it is very easy to just focus on our phones, computers, and social media and not on what is happening immediately around us. Countless conversations, potential friendships, and memories are lost when we are buried in our phones. Maria was hardly on her phone during work, only using it to check on her husband and kids. She was present 100% of the time.
12) “JUST KEEP SWIMMING”
Maria and I would spend countless hours in her car, traveling to parents’ houses, churches, wedding receptions, gardens, and beaches. In these moments, we had wonderful conversations, ranging from the hilarious and random, to deep, and thought provoking. One conversation in particular will always stay with me. We had it at 11:30 PM, after a two hour drive back to Ellicot City. We were discussing family obstacles. Maria revealed that her father passed away right after college. She shared memories of her father, lessons that he taught her, and how losing him changed her.
Maria was on the swim team in high school and in college and she used swimming to escape the stresses of her life. Have you seen the scene in Finding Nemo where Dory sings “just keeping swimming”? Similarly, Maria just kept swimming through the difficult moments and learned every stroke of the way.
One day, Maria and I were working at a wedding that was being held inside the Loyola University Maryland Chapel. Maria had the brilliant idea of getting Chipotle for lunch. I dropped Maria off at the Chapel, drove to Chipotle, and got Maria’s favorite a burrito bowl and a burrito for myself. This was our only chance to get something to eat for the day. Maria told me that many receptions do not feed the photographers, an oversight that can be physically painful when you are working, 8 to 12 hours a day. It is definitely the last thought on the bride and groom’s minds. Note for future brides: if you want great photographs, feed your photographer and her intern, or they will just end up going to Chipotle!
Maria gives her heart and soul into helping everyone involved in the wedding. If there was an issue, Maria would fix it. If the bride was nervous, Maria would comfort her. If there was a schedule change, Maria would tell everyone. If the bride’s mom was out of control, Maria would calm her down. If anyone needed help, Maria was there.
During the first wedding reception Maria ordered coke multiple times. After I got used to her schedule, I would automatically get coke for her so that she was well-hydrated. I called this lesson “coke” because it’s so important to care and watch out for other people, even if it’s a boss, stranger, etc. Maria showed me the fundamental importance of caring for others.
15) HAVE FUN NO MATTER WHAT
Maria is hilarious. There were many moments when I could not stop laughing. Maria has the ability to make ANYONE laugh. Maria thought I was crazy at times and she let me know it. I was obsessed as a sophomore in finding a job after college and I did not participate in as many extracurricular events and meetings as I wanted to because of this fixation., Looking back, I regret spending so much time in my room and in the library, and not spending more time enjoying the people around me. Maria was my wake up call because she showed me that I need to have fun and really live life to its fullest. People miss out on so many meaningful and important moments in their lives when they are distracted and anxious about little things. Ultimately, the things that we worry about do not matter. Maria taught me to laugh as much as you can, focus on the important things, and to have fun as much as you can in every moment.
Thank you Maria for everything you taught me this past summer. Words cannot express how grateful I am for you and our many adventures together. Miss you so much already!
Your Intern Margaret