MARIA INES STRASSER
// María Inés Strasser is an Uruguayan designer, teacher, journalist, video artist and researcher in the area of design, fashion, and visual merchandising. During the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, she found herself drawn to the seaside for daily walks, and she created a series about her daily walks through empty spaces.
María Inés is the general director of the Strasser School of Design and was a teacher at the Centro de Diseño University School, Faculty of Architecture at the Business and Polytechnic University of Valencia. She studied design with Milton Glaser in New York, at the School of Visual Arts. She has published seven books on her specialty and is the co-author of the book Stained Glass Analysis and Design. For many years she has been working as a fashion and design journalist on Uruguayan television (from 1982 to date). She has also been involved in the plastic arts since 2000. She has exhibited and lectured at several national museums and abroad, and has herself acted as a curator for both exhibitions and theatre performances.
As a photographer she is self-taught, having always been interested in photography as a means of communication and expression of an ephemeral moment that becomes constant. She would eventually like to publish a photo book with texts, like Wim Wenders whose work she is very fond of. “I admire everything about Wim Wenders, I adored Wings of Desire and his documentary film about Yohji Yamamoto*. In addition to his photo books and texts “Eleven”.
“Art Is a Guaranty of Sanity.”
What draws you to the arts?
“I am a curator of art and design, I love artistic expressions, I attend exhibitions and art biennials.”
What do you like best about artful photography such as the images you have shared with us?
“I seek expressiveness through a spontaneous act, and highlight the strength of the elements that compose it: calm, tempest, silence, emptiness, memories, feelings, fleeting moments, and if possible, the unexpected.”
Maria Inés shot her series “on the waterfront” entirely on her iPhone during Covid-19 related lockdown in Uruguay. “I live in front of the sea, here in Montevideo, and during five months of the pandemic in 2020 I lived in front of the sea in Punta del Este, the main resort town of Uruguay, where outside of the summer season, there were few people and you could circulate quietly without worrying, so there I took photos of my daily walks,” she says. Most photos in this series are from Punta del Este, some from Montevideo and one (with the stone walls) at Colonia.
For many years she took photos with an analog camera, and she still films in HD and 4K, as well as doing fashion photography, art and window displays for her show on national television. “But when I discovered the quality of the iPhone, which also allowed me to film in 4K, I switched to that, and it allows me to be very spontaneous. It is almost always within my reach. It is instantaneous.” She adds, “I would love to have a digital Leica, but they are extremely expensive here, so I’m still betting on the Iphone for now.”
She also edits directly on the phone, applying effects of light, contrast, shadows and colour in order to consolidate image and emotion.
In this series, Maria Inés has captured the loneliness of spaces and, by extension, of people, during the very long days of lockdown in Uruguay.
Click on the photos to see a larger image. Some images may be cropped for layout.
ALL PHOTOS © MARIA INES STRASSER
*That Wim Wenders film is entitled Notebook on Cities and Clothes.