We had the good fortune of connecting with Mayra Lockhart and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mayra, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The big Jesus Christ statue with his arms open you see on every “end of world” movie? That’s it. I landed in United States for the first time on Dec 2nd 2018, I was 20 years old leaving everything and everyone I have ever known behind, diving into a scary big adventure that I had no idea where it was going to end.
Being born in a place where everyone knows as the “wonderful city” is pretty fun, but sadly no one actually knows anything about the culture, the historical value or the social impact you’re able to see and experience when being in the inside.
Brazil is an extremely diverse country with lots of beautiful people and fun things to do, it’s a very interesting place to go on vacation with the best food and the most incredible places on earth.
With all of this beauty on the cover of the book, it is pretty hard to see the other side, the social injustice and danger hidden behind the beautiful beaches and mountains.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the highest risk cities to live in. You can also see a very high level of poverty everywhere you go but that’s never shown on TV. I’m a pretty down to earth person but during my entire life there I’ve always felt like I needed more, I’ve always wanted more than what I was offered in my birth place. Don’t get me wrong, it is a gorgeous world with one of the most rich cultural backgrounds ever. Unfortunately with the corruption and lack of a decent government we are left with no options but to struggle every day trying to make ends meet and a very low quality of life.
I’m 23 years old now and after living in United States for 3 years I have built so much more than I had down there in 20 years. I was raised by my parents and have a baby sister who is 14. My father was in the military so I had a pretty strict childhood, as I grew up surrounded by all the “bad stuff” I was able to insert myself in both worlds.
An important fact about me; I’m a kid lover by heart so I decided to join a social group to get deeper in that world and do my part. This group used to gather donations and visit the area twice a month, we usually brought everything from baby formula to hygiene items and clothing.
Have you ever seen a 5 years old boy cry of happiness because his baby sister had finally got diapers? Well, I have. I don’t have any words that are able to describe what I have seen there. Houses made of old wooden furniture pieces, ceilings made of black plastic trash bags taped together. I had to hold my tears back every time we arrived, the kids leaving everything aside and running to hug us, asking if we had brought a certain size of clothing because their brothers and sisters had none, those were 4-7 years old kids that somehow developed a better sense of what life is really like than most 15 years olds arguing with their parents because they can’t have the PS5 they want for Christmas.
When you can see it from the inside you understand what life is really like and how unfair it is. My father has always worked 2 jobs to be able to provide for us and I can say we had a “mild” life, we never had to go through those things (from when I’m able to remember) but couldn’t do much either. He’s always taught me I needed to work for everything I wanted. That if I could have something, it would always come from sweat and a few tears, and nothing would ever be handed over to me. As it hasn’t.
Back home, starting at 15 years old I had my first job. I have worked with many things since then but never lost the “I want more” feeling. At 20 I decided to take my risks moving to United States, I made this decision and 4 months later, here I was.
From the moment I stepped in here forward, life has not been any easier but more rewarding I would say, down there you study and work for years but you don’t see anything getting better, there’s no motivation.
I was an Au Pair in the first few months of my American Dream, after a few bumps on the way I realized that it wouldn’t do it for me. Leaving the Au Pair program and knowing that, now, I only had myself to count on was one of the best things I’ve ever done, weirdly. I was never one to like depending on people and I feel like I do much better on my own, making my own decisions and choices.
With only U$300 in my hands I moved back to California where I could have the best chance of making it, and I did. I was never afraid of work thanks to everything I have learned from my father and within 3 months I was making enough money to help my family back home.
From delivering food to babysitting I was working day and night to get where I wanted. Most of the time I didn’t give myself a day off because working and actually seeing your growth is the best motivation ever.
When you understand that you have to earn everything you want and no one will just hand it to you, life goes smoother. We all have to give up things in life to get where we want in the future, either leaving family and friends behind for the chance of a better life or secluding yourself from the world for months to study for an important test, nothing in this life will come without effort.

Today, with my business and family, I’m always looking for ways to improve and I can definitely say I’m never satisfied with what I have. I want more and I want to do more. I have a son, a baby boy and my main goal is raising a “life aware” human that will care for his people and understand that the sky is his limit, but he has to earn it.
I often catch myself pushing my husband to be better as well, I think marriage is a two way road and we have to be on the same pace, synced with each other.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have started my business on Oct 2020. The very middle of a global crisis and COVID-19 Pandemic. It was not an easy decision since I had to invest a lot without knowing what I would get in return, money was short, help was even shorter. My husband is in the military so we do not have the luxury of living close to family for support. I was a first time mother and had no idea what I was doing, in any way. With time I was able to get a little more comfortable doing it as well as running a business. My stubbornness and strong personality have played a huge role into shaping my business to what I wanted it to be, I still have a lot of shaping to do but I was able to find myself in this time and know exactly what I love doing and how I want to do it. I’m very attracted to the real, the raw. I’m also all about digging deeper into the story of an image, what is that image telling you as you look at it? I have taken pictures before that were cute, but they had nothing to say! I knew at that moment that my Photography Journey was going to be more meaningful that I ever thought. I knew the tools I had on my hands would create more than just photos to be hung on the walls, I knew I wanted to show and scream to the world the power that a mothers hug have, I wanted the world to hear what that one image had told me. I’m very attracted to the real and raw emotions, the most simple things are the loudest ones. When I have a client book with me I send them a questionnaire with very specific questions for me to learn about their unique story, every family has something special or important about them and I thrive to translate that into images that will make them feel every bit of it. Coming from a different country has made it very important to me to show their background, their struggles and love, to simply show their life in a whole. I have a very dear client that I had the pleasure to meet in one of my model calls, her name is Samantha Stapp. During our session together I had a breakthrough with why I do this, why I’m here for and what I AM here for. She felt overwhelmed by the way her toddler was not sitting down and smiling and getting upset. At that moment I knew he didn’t need to! Who said he needed to be a good boy and behave? No one! I felt like that’s what I was there for and I didn’t need him to do any of those things but to be himself.
I told her it was completely fine and to just snuggle him up and give him that “it’s okay” feeling. And it actually was, he laid his head on her shoulder and we were able to capture the most soulful and beautiful images ever! No one can tell me that anything has more power than a mothers hug! It changes everything on their little world, everything suddenly becomes calmer and they can feel safe and breathe easy again.

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?
I’ve always been a very extrovert person. I make friends easily and have the biggest fun ever, if you’re reading this, please let’s be friends! I moved to Colorado in March 2021 and have loved every single day after, not quite very excited about winter tho! We have 100°f temperatures all year around in Rio so any chance of being cold scares me.
I do love this state more than any other state I’ve lived before, mind you I’ve live in 7 different states since 2018.
I think the first place I would take any of my friends here would be Garden of the Gods, yes I know it’s very cliche but I love that place and the views you can get in there so much that I just can’t not do it. Second one would be Palmer Park, so close and so diverse! We have the most breathtaking sunset at Parking Lot 16 and that’s often my to go place for sessions.
Then after that we can venture into a drive to Rocky Mountain National Park because as much as I love everything down here I have a thing in my heart for shooting a session up there! If you’re interested in an Elopement or anything up there, be aware that it is on my bucket list and I will gladly do it!
Last but not least, let’s enjoy every Brazilian restaurant up in Denver area and I can tell you everything about every food they have and go back home 5lb heavier.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My father. My son. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for these two people who have taught me more than they’ll ever know. They’ve taught me things about life and even about myself that I would have never learned if I didn’t have the pleasure of having them in my life.
Becoming a mother has shaped me into this eager to be better every day kind of person.
Motherhood has made me see things in a different way, I see motherhood as a beautiful thing in a woman’s life that comes with a hint of anger, exhaustion and protective instinct. That’s exactly what I want to capture for my clients, I want them to be able to see their images taken by me and feel that power that shines through them, I want them to see the incredibly powerful woman they are and how they look gorgeous with their “I did it and I do it every day” feeling. I want to translate the feelings of motherhood into an image, which is quite impossible to be the same every time since motherhood comes in so many shapes and ways.

Website: www.mayralockhartphotography.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mlockhartphotography

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/mlockhartphoto/

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