Maggie loves the outdoors!
She has hiked extensively throughout her life, capturing vivid outdoor scenes with her camera. Maggie's sharp eye for beauty finds full expression in the digital medium. Her images reflect her love and deep appreciation for the Southwest and for the ever present beauty, joy and mystery of the natural world. She lives in the White Mountains of Arizona with her husband and their two dogs.
Though she occasionally takes on other projects, she specializes in nature, wildlife and tourism-related photography and photographic design. Her work has been featured in a prominent billboard campaign by the Arizona Office of Tourism, and has appeared in regional and state publications, the DAR national newsletter, at annual Chamber of Commerce trade shows in Phoenix and Glendale, and on Channel 12 News, as well as in a tourism magazine in Mexico.
In addition to photography, Maggie loves public speaking and offers workshops and presentations on nature, wildlife and petroglyph and ruins photography, camera settings and applications, local area wildlife, Photoshop and risk-taking/following one's dreams. She is active in the Site Steward Program with Arizona State Parks and is the 2008 Site Steward of the Year. Prior to starting Leef Photography in 2005, she worked for 18 years at a local community college as Center Manager. She has a Master's in Educational Administration from NAU and a Bachelor's in Renewable Natural Resources from UC, Davis.
I do what I do--create photographic designs--because this is what I'm passionate about. It's what I look forward to in the morning and what I most often dream about at night. It wasn't always this way. To my disappointment, I've never exhibited talent in any of the traditional art forms. In fact, I've joked for years that I'm a "wanna be right brainer in a left-brainer body."
Then I discovered digital photography and later Photoshop, a digital imaging program. My life changed completely. My creative self became more and more alive and animated with each new technique I learned. I am certain that I was guided to this place, that God or whatever Higher Power there is led me in this direction, and I am grateful for this journey, this gift, every day.
I hope people look at my work and think, "I've been there!" or "I'd like to go there!" or "I'd like to see that!" I want them to feel that their creative or spiritual selves have been touched in some particular way. Through my work I express myself, but I also strive to affect others. It's my way of saying thank you to God and to the universe for all my many blessings, and especially for this particular gift, this joyously creative journey.
What a year this has been! After the trauma of our Wallow Fire in 2011 and numerous events and commitments this year, I've ended the season by participating in the Apache County Library's Wallow Fire: A Retrospective Art Show (Our Changing Forests). I never could have imagined this at the year's start. Maybe it's all part of the healing process for those of us who experienced the evacuation and terror of the largest wildfire (to date) in Arizona history.
When I started Leef Photography in 2005, I thought that I would focus entirely on nature and wildlife photography and related photographic design. Since then I've done many other things too and am in the process now of reevaluating how my business has evolved and where I want it to go in the future.
I've photographed people and pets in informal settings as well as done a variety of photo repair and restoration assignments. I've designed some advertising and promotional pieces and created a flyer for a political candidate. I've done Senior Portraits and designed graduation announcements. I've participated in numerous art shows and events and had four solo art shows myself, two as Cedar Ridge Companies Monthly Featured Artist in Show Low (2006, 2008), a month-long show in November 2008 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, and a fall exhibit for over a month at the St. Johns Chamber of Commerce/Apache County Historical Society Museum (2011). In 2012 I did more events than ever including Camo Days, a Hallmark Meet & Greet, Fall into the Wild and a film festival. It seemed like I was always traveling somewhere. I've also developed and taught numerous workshops. Teaching others and sharing what I love has been a special joy and privilege and I'm always open to opportunities to do this. I've realized over time, however, that trying to do everything is counter-productive, so this year I returned my focus to nature, wildlife and tourism-related outdoor photography and related events, which is my first love and where my passion resides.
However, what I wrote several years ago as my initial Artist's Statement is still true: I am passionate about photography and photographic design. I hope that people feel touched and inspired by my work and consciously look for beauty and inspiration in their lives too. I know that I am guided on this creative journey and I am very grateful for it, though I still don't know where it's leading me or what will come next.
The dynamics of color still fascinate me and I am drawn to it wherever and however it appears in nature or emerges in my design work. I like bold colors and contrast in print. I love the glamour and vibrancy that color offers. Simultaneously, I find myself also drawn to less contrasting elements and more subtle shadings, and in 2013 I plan to experiment with this and create a BLUE-FOCUSED SERIES with less vivid but hopefully still appealing effects.
From a design perspective, my addiction to my photo imaging program, Photoshop, remains as powerful as ever, though I always have much more I want to learn about it. My need to express myself through more complicated design patterns has lessoned somewhat, though sometimes when I find myself using simpler design borders, I am still drawn to incorporate more intricate backgrounds. I can't imagine what my future work will look like, but I welcome its evolution as a natural part of my learning, guidance and growth.
Business-wise, in addition to framed works and prints, bookmarks, journals, puzzles, etc. I've continued to research and add some additional products. I'm realizing more and more, however, that the energy and time involved in doing community presentations, art shows and other promotional events takes me away from my photography and design work way too much. So for next year plan to narrow my focus even more, while still teaching and developing new products and hoping to reach more wholesale buyers.
Though the future is not clear to me, I move forward with faith that as I continue this path, God is directing me. I just have to slow down enough to listen. I sincerely appreciate all the support and encouragement I've received from my family, friends and various businesses and people I've met on this journey. For all of us, life is full of beauty and opportunities if we're open to them. I am grateful.
Thank you, Chamber of Commerce!