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.

The high life.

I have to admit it. Sometimes I get this feeling that I failed.

That I should have finished film school. That I should have travelled, should have lived the high life, without kids, with only me and my camera, that I should have lived in New York or Madrid or Berlin or some other exciting and vibrant place. That I shouldn't have settled down so quickly, and especially not have come back to my home town after studies, that I should have stayed single and independent and just pursued me.

You know, lived my life for me.

Instead, I dropped out of film studies abroad, went to art school in Norway (yes I did finish my Bachelor's in the end), lived in Portugal for a year (didn't even cross the European border), and entered motherhood. Moved back home, got a job (which I love), and spent the succeeding years amongst laundry, dust bunnies, nappies, dirty dishes, my camera now and then, and a bunch of film students. Who were my film students, and whom I did envy for brief moments, when they left school and entered The Rest of the World, with fresh ambitions in their hearts, while I returned to my dirty dishes and nights of disturbed sleep.

Some of my friends from university have done all this, some still do. Travel, work and live a life which to me, sometimes, when I see it displayed on Facebook or blogs or whatever, seems exotic and interesting and free. I turn my head away from the screen and see drying racks of laundry, or piles of toys, or a hundred other mundane things.

I sniffle a bit, put my boots on, go outside.

What do I see? A beautiful view. Animals grazing the fields. A lush forest right next to our house. Our house. The house that my man built (with help from my dad, never to be forgotten!), for me and for our kids. Our kids. The most magical and beautiful beings I have ever met. More vibrant than any city I'll travel to, more exciting than any travel could encompass, more giving than anything else. And the man. Oh, the man. My favourite person ever. Could any jet-set life compare to living with this guy? I doubt it. Not for me, anyway.

And then I realize that those free, single, childless people I sometimes think about, probably have dust bunnies and laundry, too.



Four years ago.