We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Pacheco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am the daughter and granddaughter of artists and grew up in a rich art community in Pueblo, Colorado. Pueblo is nicknamed “The Gateway to the Southwest”. If you’ve spent any time here you’d see how Pueblo green chiles, excellent local Mexican food that is only found in this Southern part of Colorado, and an incredible art and music scene make up the culture here. When I was a little girl I would go to local Art shows at galleries with my parents and attend some of my dad’s art classes and wear one of my best dresses and model for some of his painting classes at the Arts Center. I also attended some art classes that he taught when he taught children. He retired from being an Art professor at our local community college and his students still tell me how he helped and influenced them in a positive way. I spent part of my summers with my grandparents in Oklahoma and loved to visit my Granddaddy at one of the galleries his artwork was at and spend time watching him paint in his studio. His paintings were often landscapes of places around Southern Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. One of his paintings of Chalk Creek near Buena Vista, Colorado sits in my living room today. My mother joined the local Art Guild and loved to work on pastels and paint with my sister and I in our free time. In high school, one of my last minute art pieces that I created while painting with my mom won “Best of Show” in the school district’s art show. I always knew that I needed a career that revolved around art and being creative. I originally planned to become an Interior Designer and took classes in that field, but when I went back to college as a young adult, my dad ended up being my Advisor and he had me take a black and white film photography class. He said that I needed to learn photography to know how to photograph my own interior designs. So I did and immediately fell in love with it. I applied for a job while taking that class to work part time in a corporate portrait studio. I had such a thirst for the knowledge of portraiture that in my spare time there I read all of the books on posing clients and what makes a good portrait. It paid off, and I moved up from a part time studio employee to Market Trainer, then to District Manager in charge of 9 portrait studios within 6 months. While I enjoyed working and traveling back and forth across the State from Montrose to Grand Junction, to Alamosa, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs, I missed the creative aspect of photography and I missed spending time with my family. Then, as I was traveling back from a studio in Colorado Springs, I was in a bad car accident and ended up suffering a brain injury and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital and at doctors appointments. I could no longer work as a district manager. My dad suggested I purchase a digital camera then, this was in 2007 and digital cameras were just starting to replace film in the photography industry. That was probably the best purchase of my life. When I was recovering and couldn’t walk well, I sat on my back porch and photographed butterflies on my lilac bush. Then I started being contacted by friends and family asking if I could still take their portraits, even though I was no longer in the corporate studio. I did, and I created a portrait studio in my home. I then started my small photography business, photographing weddings, high school seniors, families, newborns, and other portraits. Now, I have a portrait studio in the heart of the gateway to the Southwest. My portraits definately have an art influence to them. I make painterly portraits in the studio and love to include the beauty of Colorado in my outdoor portraits. I’ve been a photographer for 16 years now and an artist as long as I can remember. My main focus now are women, family, and high school senior portraits and I continue to try and create beautiful art for my clients and I combined my love for interior design so I design their portraits to match their home decore and even design and hang their custom printed art on my client’s walls for them.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
In an industry filled with family photographers who often sell inexpensive outdoor sessions and give clients a thumb drive or cd of their images afterwards, I set my studio apart by offering custom wall art that I plan and create and design for their homes. They get both the completely edited and finished artistic portraits in printed and art format that’s ready to hang on their walls and the digital copy to share on social media and make gift prints of to give to their friends and family. I plan every detail from clothing to location or backdrops and even provide clothing from my studio wardrobe in all sizes as well as offer hair and makeup in the studio. I also completely retouch and add my artistic spin on images in photoshop before ordering the highest quality prints and wall art from the best photo lab in the United States. As someone who lost my own mother I realize how valuable my printed portraits are of her. They’ve become my most valuable posession. So I strive to create portraits, especially portraits of women with their families, partners, and by themselves that they will love and cherish for years and generations. I often take legacy portraits and I feel so honored to be able to be the person trusted to capture someone’s image to be left behind for future generations, and I make sure my clients look and feel their best in them through styling, posing, lighting, and retouching.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Pueblo is so full or rich art and culture. I love to show my out of town guests the shops on Union and some of our amazing local cuisine from Mexican food at restaurants like Jorge’s or chicken tacos on white at Rita’s, Italian grinders from Passkey, pizza with the unique sweet crust at Do Drop, restaurants with chefs from Spain and Italy like Bistoro or La Forchetta, and of course our own special green chili sloppers at Coor’s Tavern or Sunset Inn. You can’t leave Pueblo without having some green chile. My other favorite spots are coffee at Grind Haus, and local food trucks for fun ice cream from Puff Puffette Pass. The Pueblo Arts Aliance is a great place to go look at local art, the Pueblo Riverwalk is a beautiful place to walk around at night, and local music can be heard at places like The Greenlight or Downtown Bar. The Pueblo Arts Center, Pueblo Zoo, and Memorial Hall have events and attractions that rival world-famous ones that I’ve visited at much larger cities. We also host the Colorado State Fair and the Chile and Frijole Festival every year. We are also a town rich in history with sites like the Pueblo Union Depot and Railroad Museum and the El Pueblo Museum. My family and I enjoy the historical Ghost Walk every Fall where we hear and see actors depict charactors and events from Southern Colorado’s past.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The biggest shoutout goes to my Mom and Dad, both of whom have given me a love of art and the support and desire to follow my dreams in life. My Dad specifically taught me to “always work with my mistakes”. My mom who is now in Heaven and who taught me to follow my heart and to love and trust God in every situation, and that all things work together for good. My husband has also been a wonderful supporter who makes it possible to work in an industry that has an extremely busy season and a slower season. He fills the gaps and helps out around the house and with the kids, and also works as my videographer. My kids are also great helps, from working as photography assistants in the studio, to cleaning and modeling for me whenever I need it. And my amazing clients who continue to support my small business throughout the years and have my work hanging all over their walls. I love you all.
All photos were taken by Mary Pacheco Photography in Mary Pacheco Photography’s studio or around Southern Colorado.