• Photo Diary: Stella Maria Baer

    Our confession? We spend hours on Instagram and we can’t seem to stop. Here, we chat with Stella Maria Baer, an Instagram photographer who keeps us busy double-tapping, and find out her tips for taking our own photos to the next level.

    Name: Stella Maria Baer
    Occupation: painter
    Location: From Santa Fe, NM, currently in New Haven, CT

    How long have you been on Instagram?
    I joined Instagram 171 weeks ago – so that was April of 2012 I think? A friend I grew up with in Santa Fe, Aleishall Girard Maxon, convinced me to join. We live on opposite coasts and I wanted to see what she was making and keep up with her life.

    When you started, were you posting the same things as you do now?
    At first it was just a way to keep in touch with friends and mess around. Over time it evolved into something else – a way for me to experiment with photography and color.

    What kind of things do you generally post?
    My posts are a journal of my creative process. I post photographs of my studio, palette, and paintings but also the rocks and deserts that haunt my work.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your art?
    For the past year and a half I’ve been working on watercolors of moons and planets. I just finished a series of round watercolors on canvas paintings of the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. I’m preparing for a show with a sculptor friend, Elisa Fonseca, at a gallery in Ojai in November.

    Have you had any artistic opportunities arise because of Instagram? If so, what?
    People from all over the world own my paintings and prints because they’ve found my work on Instagram! Last year some of my photographs appeared in an exhibition at the Finnish Museum of Photography, and the director of that show found my work on Instagram. I’ve also done a lot of trades with artists I’ve met through Instagram – ceramicist Romy Northover, woodworker Silvia Song, and designer Elizabeth Suzann. But more importantly, I’ve met a lot of artists and photographers on instagram who have become friends. Lily and Hopie Stockman of Block Shop Textiles, Jessie Hallstrom of owlfaceowlface, and Bri Cimino are all friends I’ve met through Instagram.

    Do you have any advice for other artists looking to connect to more artists via IG?
    I think the most important thing is to take the time to create your own unique visual language. Don’t confuse inspiration with imitation. Find your own original style and voice. Post what you love. Meet up with strangers.

    Can you tell us a little bit about where you take your photographs? Your settings are unreal!
    Most of the photographs that aren’t of my studio and paintings are from road trips I’ve taken through the deserts of the southwest. I try to go to New Mexico a couple times a year to paint and take photographs and see my mom and dad, who still live in Santa Fe.

    What kind of editing apps do you use?
    VSCO and Lightroom.

    Do you have a specific photo editing process? Can you tell us about it?
    I try to do as little editing as I can. The aim with most of my edits is to make the photograph look like what my eye saw when I took the photo. I do love the VSCO Alchemy collection.

    Any tips for taking a better photo?
    Always have your camera with you and don’t be afraid to pull over on the side of the road and run after the horses.

    What kind of other hobbies do you have?
    I used to work as a wrangler at a ranch in Wyoming. I don’t get to ride very much living in a city but I try to get on a horse whenever I can. I love camping under the stars and cooking over fires. I went camping with my friend Abby in the Coyote Valley in Arizona last April and I can’t wait to go back.

    Follow Stella on Instagram