Maire Thompson creates art that makes you stop, look and appreciate. As she takes us up-close to plants, butterflies and birds, or turns sweeping landscapes into places of magic, we see nature with fresh eyes.
“Seeing with fresh eyes” might sound like a cliché, but we believe that once you look at her photographs, you will agree. Her close-ups take you right into the world of plants and animals as if you had shrunk to their size. And the edits to her landscape photography add an otherworldly touch that make you want to go explore this “magical place”. (Of course, we’ve never been to New Zealand and maybe everything naturally looks like it’s been touched by magic and butterflies are gigantic.)
Maire Thompson grew up in a small town in the Bay of Islands, a collection of over 100 subtropical islands on the north-east side of New Zealand’s North Island. Together with her partner and two sons, she now lives in Ashhurst, a little country community in the Manawatu, a region in the lower half of North Island.
What do you do?
I became passionate about photography nearly 15 years ago when I took a picture of an unusual insect I’d come across in the hopes of trying to identify it. Then I started photographing other insects, then other things, and before I knew it I was the proud owner of a DSLR and there was just no stopping me – I had been unleashed!
When I’m not out with my camera I spend my time parenting, volunteering at the Red Cross Bookstore, selling imported goods online, and selling products from my photography at local markets and online.
I try to keep a clear line between my passion and my business, photography is a hobby and my business is selling products from my photography. So, you won’t find me photographing weddings, taking family portraits, or doing commissioned work, there are plenty of very talented local professional photographers readily available for that!
Why do you do what you do?
The feeling I get when I’m behind the camera lens became quite addictive, everything shuts off and it’s just me and the camera and a whole new world through the lens. Something doesn’t have to be obviously beautiful to find the beauty in it, you can find beauty just about anywhere. I don’t even need to leave home, if I’ve been housebound too long I can just as well find inspiration in the back yard. I do it because it makes me feel happy.
General Happy Place category?
I don’t have any one category. Anywhere can be an adventure; exploring a riverbank, on a bushwalk, or a walk in a suburban park, it’s more about finding the wonder in your surroundings wherever you are. Sometimes we can take a few steps from the path in a local park and it seems like we’ve been on a foray into the wild.
Specific Happy Place locations?
Before we moved to the Manawatu, I lived near Muriwai Beach and loved visiting the gannet colony. I would spend hours watching and photographing the gannets, the way they glided so gracefully and artfully on the air currents, they were just mesmerizingly beautiful.
Now one of my favorite places is the Manawatu River, along with some of its major tributaries, the Pohangina River and the Oroua River, and its finest feature, the Manawatu Gorge. The river is 180km long altogether, so we can visit a different point each time to explore and it is a whole new adventure.
What do you always bring out into nature with you?
Do you have any Happier Place tips?
I don’t have any special tips, just always remember to bring your imagination with you!
A dream destination (in space or time)?
That’s a really tough one! After a lot of thought, I just can’t think of anywhere better than here and now.
Words of Inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us every day, we just need to take a moment to stop and see it.
Find Maire Thompson and her photography online:
A little side note: Maire has a lovely sense of humor that comes across especially well in her collection of Batman’s Adventures in Ashhurst. Check it out!
With most of the photos above, if you click on an image it will take you directly to the same photo on Maire’s website where you can purchase postcards, notecards and other prints.