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Mayathara: transcending fantasy journeys

by Editor Marius Cinteză
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 29th of July

is the soul project initiated by Kerstin and Hermann Berger in the pandemic period, as a protected space where they could live out their ideas, dreams and feelings unrestricted. Kerstin is responsible for everything happening in front of the lens, she is the stylist, prop master, costume designer and body painter of all pictures; and, last but not least, of course, she’s also in front of the camera! Hermann is the photographer, focusing more on the technical aspects of the compositions. Photography has been a great passion for him for a long time, but portrait photography capture all his energy lately. Together they are “Mayathara Photoart”!

I invite you to follow me and discover more about Kerstin and Hermann and how they complete each other to thrive their passion for imaginative portraiture, in the interview below!


Kerstin and Hermann, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!

We have been a couple for over 25 years and for the last 18 years we have been walking the same path professionally with our own restaurant. So, we are used to working together. Since our free time is relatively limited there is not too much time for hobbies.


For many of us the photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?

Photography is for us an antidote to the often very stressful everyday life. A shared passion through which we can both express ourselves in very different ways. I am more the artistic part and my husband, Hermann, focuses more on the technical aspect of photography. For him the mastery of the technique is what makes a good picture, because only then it is intentional and not coincidental.


“Mayathara Photoart” is your soul project and you play different roles in front or behind the camera. Can you please tell us more about it?

With the COVID – induced lockdown in 2020, we were suddenly blessed with a lot of free time. During this period our joint project “Mayathara Photoart” was born. Here I have found a protected space in which I can live out my ideas, dreams and feelings unrestricted. There are no restrictions neither limits here. I can be what or who I like to be. On the other hand, it always excited me to try out new techniques of bodypainting. The preparation of each shooting is associated with new experience and thus never gets boring. Through my work in front of the camera, as a portrait body artist, my husband´s photography has taken an artistic dimension. From the technical point of view the decision to move away from available light to a focused light setting and flashlight was a big leap.


Your works are remarkably creative, perfectly combining props, painting, colors, lights and moods to create surreal compositions! Can you please tell us about your workflow?

I am responsible for everything that happens in front of the camera. From the image idea to the complete implementation to the poses, I do everything on my own. In addition to the classic bodypainting I like to use materials from nature such as earth, mud, leaves, twigs, etc. and integrate them into my work. I use my body as my canvas and sculpture to turn my ideas into reality. And that is exactly the moment when my husband and photography come into play. But now it’s not just about simply capturing my form of art; the special challenge for him is to portrait my ideas in “the right light”. In the joint post-production we give our images the finishing touches.


How do you maintain and grow your passion for this creative portrait photography genre? What motivates and inspires you?

The common artistic work has now taken a great importance in our lives. The most important thing for us is the joy of what we do, it lets us relax and recharge our batteries. On the other hand, we are very happy and proud about the recognition and encouragement we receive from so many sides. It’s of course the desire of every artist to make his art known to a wider audience, so we were very happy about your request for this interview!


Why do you think that makes your portraiture works special?

What makes our portrait photography special is, of course, our extraordinary collaboration. Art in front of the camera and the photographic performance of my husband, create a special result - images that stand out from the classic portrait.


What is your most important advice for the beginners that would like to follow your way?

The best advice we can give to anyone is to do what you do with passion! Because that’s the only way you can be really good. Otherwise, just look at many pictures and try everything once. In the beginning it’s more about imitating and mastering the techniques, later you develop your own style. Here, however, it is also important to always remain open to feedback.


Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what is the gear you use (camera, lenses, etc.)?

At “Mayathara” we mainly work with the Sony A7IV and a 50/30mm lens. Outside of this project, my husband photographs with great passion with the Leica M system.


Can you please shortly present your favorite photo, the story behind it and  explain why it is special to you?

Our current favorite image is the NIXE, inspired by the legends and stories about the underwater world with Poseidon and all his mermaids. Why exactly this picture? - I cannot even say definitively. It’s a feeling to me more than a rational decision. I love the mood inherent in this work!


Who are your favorite photographers or mentors who have influenced you and your photography?

Steve McCurry, Helmut Newton and Gordon Parks to name just a few.

Painted Clay

Kerstin and Hermann, since we almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or photographic projects you would like to involve in the future.

Our plans for the future are, from the artistic point of view, to keep improving and implement new creative ideas. On the other hand, we would like to make our art accessible to a wider audience, for this purpose there will be two exhibitions next year, which we are already looking forward to.







Golden Tree



Outstanding images and colors, great atmosphere, thank you for sharing.
Fantastic images, colors, Atmosphere of Socialismus.... Photogenic Cuba, Wonderful Portfolio !
Dreamy Portraits of very high quality - Congratulations' to all
good job and great portrait work
thank you so much
Spectacular, awesome and extraordinary collection.
Much appreciated, thanks for taking time to have a look at this interview
Such an amazing project and idea with an intense visual message! Excellent interview, Marius! Congratulations!
Thank you so much, Elena!!
So creative, expressive and talented artists. Congrats!
So glad that you like it dear Kimberly
Extraordinary Portraits, Work !!!
Much appreciated
Extraordinary creative photography! Congratulations, Kerstin and Hermann! Thank you, Marius and Yvette, for sharing this amazing art with us!
Happy that you like it Ludmila
Thank you so much, Ludmila!!
Thanks a lot for your appreciation, dear Ludmila ;-)
Great créative work. Congratulations.
Heartfelt thanks
Complimenti per l intervista, la passione e le vostre fotografie stupende, bellissime, notevoli 👏👏
Mille gracie
sorry, I did not want to forget Marius, of course also to him a big praise and many thanks!
Ruth, no worries, many thanks!! :-)
Nicely done Marius! This project from Kerstin and Herman is one of my favorite things on the 1x platform. Bravo all around.
Oh heartfelt thanks, big compliment !,
Many thanks, Michael, for your kind words!! :-)
Great work by Kerstin and Hermann and as always a very nice presentation by Yvette! Am thrilled!
Thank you, dear Ruth! Marius also did a great job leading this interview to such a result. And yes, Kerstin and Hermann are breathtaking good !!!
Thank you so much dear Ruth, really happy that you like what we do
It is a real pleasure to me and to the readers to have your wonderful interview here, my friends. Your work is unique and amazing. My hat off and my very best compliments. Cheers, Yvette
Thanks for the opportunity to present our artworks in you magazine, you do always a fantastic job
Extraordinary Portraits, Work !!!
Thanks for your comment on our work
Beautiful work,congratulations
You are always welcome my dear