Originally published August 23, 2014
Maria Dehne finds the beauty of life through the lens of her camera and her passion for Cincinnati.
Spend some time on social media looking at beautiful photographs of Cincinnati and it won’t take you long to find some of Maria Dehne’s contributions. With beautiful moments captured in time, often accompanied by her positive narrative, she captures the unique beauty of our Queen City through her viewfinder. After seeing her beautiful photos, especially of our Anderson Public Library and her favorite subject, Union Terminal, I wanted to chat with Maria and get to know more about her passion for all things Cincinnati.
Maria was kind enough to share some of her experiences, her passion for sports, her enthusiasm for the city she calls home, and more.
“Our city has so many wonderful opportunities and possibilities and I enjoy trying to capture those unique qualities that make it beautiful. From the people, to the buildings, to the neighborhoods, to the farmer’s markets, and the parks, etc; they all have their own special kind of beauty. When I take my camera out to shoot something, I’m just trying to capture what I think is beautiful about whatever is in front of me. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Pictures have the ability to share not only thousands of words, but thousands of stories. They are their own portable history tellers.”
Maria found her passion for photography at an early age, when her father created a darkroom in their family’s house.
“For as long as I can remember, the process of taking pictures as been so fascinating to me. Having a device that has the capability of freezing an exact moment of time in a single image and then being able re-live that image forever…. what’s not to love about that?! My dad was really big into it and his passion for it carried down to my sister and me. She is a great photographer. It’s normal to see me outside trying to chase after an insect, or climb a tree, or get grass stains on my clothes trying to get a shot.
“With the introduction to Instagram, my love of photography has increased. I have been able to meet new friends through InstaMeets, who have taught me new tricks to the photo trade. There are so many wonderful Instagram feeds to follow in our city. It’s really neat to see our city in so many different ways. And I think it helps people have new experiences.”
Great things never came from comfort zones.
It is the sport of basketball however, that Maria calls her “first love”. After her parents made her try out for a local AAU basketball team at the age of 10, she fell in love with the game that she still enjoys today.“From that moment on, I was consumed; playing year-round on AAU teams, for Mercy, and wherever else I could. I am so thankful my parents made me attend that try-out. Basketball was so much for me. It was a confidence booster, a way to make lifelong friends, and it taught me so much. It taught me the meaning of hard work, dedication, how to learn from failure, how to celebrate successes, how to be magnanimous, and much more.”
Maria attended Mother of Mercy High School, where she continued playing basketball, coached by the legendary, Mary Jo Huismann. She wanted to play college hoops after high school, and ultimately decided on the Ashland University Eagles, in Ashland Ohio, where she attended on both academic and athletic scholarships. After graduating with a degree in History, Maria returned to Cincinnati, the city she loves, where she currently works as the Adult Volunteer Coordinator for Museum of Natural History & Science. In addition to her career, Maria volunteers her time for the Cincinnati Association of Volunteer Administrators and “Save Our Icons”.
“I am currently on the Board (as Vice-Chair) of the Public Relations team for the Cincinnati Association of Volunteer Administrators (CAVA). CAVA’s mission is to engage, educate, and enrich the communities in which we live, work and play by supporting professional leaders in volunteer engagement and the volunteers within their organizations. I help run CAVA’s social media content. I have also been extremely active in the “Save Our Icons” cause; which is raising awareness about the repair and restoration needs of Union Terminal and Music Hall. As a lover of all our city’s historic buildings, it was important to me to volunteer my time in helping to promote the needs for those buildings. They are important to this city. They are what make this city unique and they provide opportunities found nowhere else in the world. They hold history; our city’s history.” If Cincinnati needed someone to explain why potential visitors should choose our city as their destination, Maria could certainly qualify. I asked her what she might write on a postcard to explain to someone why they should visit Cincinnati:
“I would definitely start with Union Terminal. I know I am biased, but the building and its rich history as a train station, the artwork, and more is, in my opinion, one-of-a kind and such a treasure to our city. From there I would also include the Greater Cincinnati Area and tell them about all the fun and educational opportunities this area provides. Music Hall, Freedom Center, The Observatory, The Zoo, the Aquarium, Carew Tower, Krohn Conservatory, the Art Museum, Findlay Market, Spring Grove Cemetery, our libraries, even our bridges…. the list is endless! These buildings/structures and organizations are why our city is so special. They, along with the people who live here, help define our city. Next I would say our parks! I LOVE our parks! Great Parks of Hamilton County, Cincinnati Parks, neighborhood parks, you name them, I love them! I love nature and love capturing it. I would also mention our food/restaurants (Skyline, LaRosa’s, Graeter’s, Terry’s Turf Club, Montgomery Inn), Jungle Jim’s (I used to work there), and our fun food trucks, our amazing neighborhood farmer’s markets, the beautiful murals that paint our downtown, the many wonderful local shops and vendors, our city flea markets (The City Flea, Oakley Fancy Flea, etc) and last but not least, Charley Harper. People who visit Cincinnati must learn about Charley Harper. His art is iconic and is everywhere; in our parks, in our museums, in our homes. I loved the way he captured nature and life in his own way with unique, simple, and playful shapes and colors. I think I’ve run out of room on my postcard, haven’t I?”
When she’s not at work or involved in her volunteer efforts, you may find Maria, camera in hand, exploring areas around Cincinnati, including the Anderson Library, Union Terminal or any place that she determines to explore.
Maria Dehne finds the beauty in what many of us walk past without noticing. Maybe there is a lesson here for all of us. Maybe we should all foster a little bit of what Maria captures, and see the beauty in every place we are.
“Find beauty in what is right in front of you.” – Maria Dehne
Follow Maria on Instagram: @ig_md34
Follow Maria on Twitter: @mdehne34
To browse some of the amazing Cincinnati photography on Instagram, use the hashtag: #Cincinnati
Special thanks to Maria Dehne for sharing her story, her photography and her friendship.