A mother of four, photographer, nature lover. Someone trying to make sense of it all, through photos and stories. 

I try to be free in all senses of the word, so I made the leap and now work with what I love doing; taking pictures, storing this life in moments, both for myself and for clients. My heart is in photographing birth and motherhood, but I take on just about any photography job. 
(See my birth photos at www.birth.no and the rest of my work portfolio at www.mariavatne.no.)

I live on a farm in Norway with my man Nik and my children Ronja, Freja, Falk and Ulv, plus a bunch of animals. We grow our own food as far as the seasons allow it, we don't go to kindergarten, the three youngest ones will be homeschooled.

We govern our own lives, we strive for independence, we want to be in this life wild and free and full of love.

When the dust settles / Into the wild.

When the dust settles / Into the wild.

It's been quiet here for a while. Not because there hasn't been things to talk about or thoughts to share, more because I have needed time to process and cope with it all. There are good things, and bad things, as usual. Or are they really bad? Sometimes blessings come in disguises. The one thing that is for sure, is that there are changes coming, big ones. 

We are selling the farm.

I've always had a thing for looking at life symbolically; trying to see the shapes and patterns and choreography of this seemingly chaotic existence. The meaning above it all, the bigger picture. It helps me to understand this life better, and to see the beauty and wisdom of it clearer, like the journey this family has been through and the new chapter we now will embark upon.  

The last nine years have been a whirlwind of love, hard work, ambition, strife, children, animals, chores, chaos, more love, grief and frustration and even more love. We have done so much. We have been through so much together. Nik and I met nine years ago, and since then we have had three children born to us and four to bring up together. We have bought and brought life to this beautiful farm. We have started two successful businesses allowing us a self-employed life. We have been blissful and we have been miserable. We have been separated and reunited. We have worked through a lot of shit and are still doing it. We have let go of many things and know there are still so many things to let go of. So much space that needs to be cleared. But most of all, one thing we have not had through these years, is time off all of our projects. Time off, together. Yes, we have a life where we are together a lot and where we govern our lives a lot, but we have taken on so much responsibility and work, we have filled our lives to the brim. And by choosing to live mainly on one income (photography), there has been a heavy burden on me to stand upright continously, all year round. No time off. And Nik has had the main job of homeschooling the kids and running the farm, so there just hasn't been much breathing space for us. We have lived in beauty, but we haven't had enough time to sit in this beauty. And when you choose a life that is so dependant on yourself, when you do both the schooling of the kids and the production of foods and get the money in, there is a vulnerability. There isn't much space to break or lie down or not be able. You have to show up to it. And it's a great thing, being self-dependant like that. But then I broke. My body started to present signals that were not healthy, all winter, and then more intense come spring. And being sick? I've never been sick. Not like this. Not the kind of sick where I really have to listen. And when I really started listening, I could feel how tired I was. Like bone-tired, into my very innermost cell. Tired of coping, of being strong and able, of being on top of everything. So my spirit and my body were in sync, so to say. And without going into a lot more detail on that journey, I have realized that I can't continue this life, not in this intensity. I love photography, I really do, and I will continue doing it - both for myself and for customers - but I need to scale it down. I want to be in this life with my people, fully alive and present. Creating, loving, breathing.
We decided a while ago to sell, to find somewhere else, a smaller farm, cheaper, so that we could be truly independent and not need a house mortgage. Not be slaves of that system anymore, to live even simpler and closer to nature and freedom. And so we have been looking for a smaller place for a while, and there are some nice ones, but the one hasn't come up yet.

So we decided to stop waiting, sell the farm anyway and become nomads until we find our new place. 
We will put the farm out for sale in August, buy a camper van and leave for Europe in October. We will travel and explore, but also settle down in periods to work at eco farms and community projects (through sites like Workaway), to live with people and bond and learn. We will be together without anything else than each other and the road. We will most likely hit cabin fever big time and climb the walls sometimes, but I am also trusting that we will experience wonderful times and that dizzying feeling of freedom I so long for. That we will feel what it's like to be truly alive and together, without anything else that defines us.

It's time to start a new chapter. I can't wait.

Last photos as a two-year old.

Last photos as a two-year old.

Back to paradise!

Back to paradise!