Maria Servello Petit is a fashion model and photographer, who was born in Zurzach but currently resides in Paris. She started modelling at the age of 16 in New York city. One day while she was walking around the streets of New York a designer scouted her asking if she could walk for them and this is how it all started. After that she continued modelling for quite a few years.
15 years ago, she met her husband Emmanuel Laurent Petit a former French footballer who played at club level for Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea as a midfielder. He also represented France at international level in two UEFA European championships. After Maria met her husband and they had kids, she decided to stop modelling and take the time to take care of them.
About two years ago, she got back into modelling. She explains: ‘As I’m now in my 40’s the modelling business is not the same anymore.’
Maria knew she wanted to stay in the fashion business but she wasn’t sure of what exactly she would do. However, she did love photography although it was more of a hobby for her, as she carried a camera around and always took pictures of everything. Therefore she figured that if she could put the two together ‘fashion and photography’ she could make something out of it. One day she asked her friend Mark who was a model at Elite Modelling Management Agency to pose for her. This was her first shoot, and it went on for 8 hours with a few outfit and location changes. After the shoot was done, she retouched the photos and showed them to Mark, he really loved the way they turned out and suggested that he would take the photos to his agency. Following that Maria was invited and told that they would like to work with her and keep her in the men’s division.
Maria is now a freelance photographer and has collaborated with magazines like the Sioux magazine, Los Angeles, Aden Magazine New York, Cool Korean, Provocateur magazine and more.
Most of Maria’s work features shoots with male models amounted to 80% compared to the women she has shot as she thinks it is easier.
She mentioned that she had never studied photography at an academic level or never took up any courses, everything she learnt about photography was on YouTube.
As for the equipment, she explained to us that she only uses one camera with multiple lenses for almost all her shoots. When it comes to the lighting for outdoor shoots she never uses any reflectors. She says: ‘When other people or other photographers hear what I’m saying they’re like that’s not true! It’s impossible that you have a perfect picture without having all the extra equipment’s and my answer was always that it’s just the way I work, the way I place the model based on the natural lighting and it turns out well. It’s easier for me may be because I was in the modelling business for a long time I just know how it works’.
Maria also travels to a lot of cities like New York, London or Miami to shoot. She likes shooting outdoor and recently set up a studio at her place where she did about 5 or 6 shoots and almost all of them got featured in editorials for magazines.
When we asked her if there was any shoot that she did that she would prefer to others, she replied: ‘There is this one shoot I did that pops out. I was photographing a female model which I rarely do.I connected the shoot with the designer’s collection which was completely white. The shoot was done in a park in Paris with caves and waterfalls where I decided to add smoke bombs with colours into the picture which made them look really amazing.’