About Sarah Marino
Sometimes small and seemingly insignificant decisions end up changing the course of a person’s life. This is how I got started with photography. In 2008, my point-and-shoot camera died after getting soaked while I was hiking in a rainstorm. I decided, for no real reason at the time, to purchase a fancier camera even though I had no real interest in photography. Within weeks, however, I found myself spending nearly all of my spare time on learning about landscape photography.
Initially, pursing landscape photography provided a restful break from a very demanding job and full-time graduate school. Then, after being passed over for what I considered the only job I really wanted, I decided that my workaholic lifestyle was bringing a lot of stress and not much happiness. I started simplifying my life, reevaluating my priorities, and seeking more freedom. This all brought a lot of personal and professional changes, with photography staying as the constant source of enjoyment and happiness.
Over the last few years, I have been able to build a small consulting business that brings a satisfying combination of things into my life. I am simultaneously able to do interesting, meaningful work all while having an incredibly flexible and far less demanding work schedule. In 2012 and 2013, this allowed me to scale back my work to part-time and set aside some time for extensive travel, almost all of which I have done with my partner and fellow landscape photographer Ron Coscorrosa. During this time, we were able to see and experience more places than most people will be able to see in a lifetime. Because we both have flexible, mostly remote jobs, we are extending this opportunity to travel extensively by living from an Airstream trailer for extensive periods of time.
About My Approach to Photography
Although I grew up near the mountains, I never really spent much time in nature until my early twenties. During college, a friend invited me along on a backpacking trip, which was the first time I had ever been hiking or tent camping. Looking back, the trip was a highly unpleasant experience. I wore cotton socks and boots that were a size too small, resulting in bloody, painful blisters that took weeks to heal. My backpack was ill-fitting and caused a great deal of pain. I didn’t have a sleeping pad, which was a huge mistake for two autumn nights in Rocky Mountain National Park. Still, the experience of getting beyond the crowds to see spectacular scenery in near solitude really did change my life. On that trip, I remember seeing a moose and its baby in person for the first time. Standing at the brink of a tall backcountry waterfall felt exhilarating. The experience of walking through a high alpine meadow surrounded by towering peaks was something I had never done before and I remember the sense of awe I felt at that moment like it was yesterday.
I have had this experience repeated over and over in the years since that trip… Walking into Ice Lakes Basin, one of the most scenic places in Colorado, during peak wildflower season and thinking that this place just could not be real, but it is! Seeing the rugged and dramatic Tonquin Valley in Jasper National Park with all of its abundant wildlife during peak fall colors, feeling a huge sense of accomplishment for hiking there using only my own power. Experiencing the aurora borealis in Iceland on an insanely cold and windy winter night, allowing all of the unpleasantness of that trip to instantly fade away to be replaced with the strongest sense of awe and wonder I have ever experienced. Now, I bring along a camera to capture a small slice of those incredible moments to share with others, many of whom will never be able to see these places for themselves.
Although I do not think I ever really get there, I strive to create elegant and beautiful photographs of the places I have the great fortune to visit. In many ways, this approach produces idealized versions of these places, which is exactly what I am seeking to do. The thing I most love about being in natural and wild places is the sense of awe that I always feel. I hope that in some small way, my photography can communicate this sense of awe and wonder and love that I always feel when I am capturing a photograph.