Maria Ponce Berre has been working as a professional commercial and portrait photographer since 2007. After living and working in New York, L.A., and Paris, she moved back to Chicago in 2009 to open a photo studio in Ravenswood. Photographing celebrities from Meghan Markle to Derrick Rose, Berre recently held an online exhibition entitled “2020” on poncephotography.com. Looking to spend more time outdoors with their two daughters, she and her husband have moved their family from Lincoln Square to Barrington Hills. As mid-century modern junkies, they were inspired by a 1960s Edward Dart home which they scooped up and are in the midst of currently restoring.
Mantra? Be yourself Best grooming tip? In this COVID-19 era, invest in a Wahl buzzer and scissor set and learn to cut your family’s hair. Otherwise find a great stylist who does house calls Guilty pleasure? Nothing guilty about pleasures, especially for working parents during this time! (OK, it’s good champagne) Favorite foods? Mexican! Music you love? I love hearing either of my brothers play and sing on the piano Best advice ever given to you? From an amazing photographer, Randall Mesdon, critiquing one of my first portfolios, “Now that you’ve taken all these pictures, they are out of your system and you’ll never take any like these again.” Harsh words, but never truer Best advice you’ve given? If something you’re pursuing feels a little scary—you are probably on the right track Earliest memory? Swimming in a galvanized tub when I was 2 years old in Indianapolis on a hot day—apparently, we didn’t have AC When you wake up, you? I usually scroll Instagram looking for something to make me laugh, @instaalcoholic does the trick Before bed, you? Sing incredibly silly songs to my kids, watch reruns of The Office and think about all that I’m thankful for What’s on your bookshelf? Mostly photography and art books (favorites are Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz, and Mapplethorpe) mixed with some on trend light-hearted fiction You can’t live without? Something to look forward to Love to escape to? The Standard in Miami, The Parker in Palm Springs, or San Miguel de Allende Advice you would give to your younger self? Ditch the boyfriends and travel with your girlfriends
WHEN IN THE COUNTRY
Your style is? Jeans, tailored tops, and high tops Can’t leave the house without? A mask, a La Croix, and Google maps Transportation? My vintage green and white Schwinn bicycle Driving music? Usually not music when I’m alone. I’m obsessed with Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert Place to eat? For now it’s all been take-out, I love Remember Charlotte’s Pizza! I am really excited to frequent all the local restaurants when I can Shop? Heinens Best thing about the country? Sunsets and sunrises over the small lake we live on. No noisy traffic. Kind people who have been so welcoming. Oh, and the Barrington Public Library—what a treasure! Worst thing about the country? Still learning to cohabitate with bugs and critters (never knew of The Stinkbug) The perfect day is? Coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Conscious Coffee with the kids, riding bikes outside, and doing yard projects with the family. Ending with a bonfire in the backyard with drinks, friends and family, a charcuterie board, cozy blankets, and s’mores
WHEN IN TOWN
Your style is? Comfortable dresses or jumpsuits, leather studded booties Can’t leave the house without? Hugging my daughters multiple times, bumping into some piece of furniture, and my camera Transportation? Preferably my two feet Driving music? I love calling friends who live far away Place to eat? My mother’s kitchen or Spacca Napoli Pizzeria in Ravenswood Shop? Merz’s Apothecary Best thing about town? My 1800s carriage house photo studio, art museums, and my friends and family who live there Worst thing about town? Besides the traffic, I have no complaints. Chicago is the most accessible, beautiful city—especially when the weather is good The perfect day is? Sitting on my friend’s porch for morning tea, shooting a creative portrait, a date night to the MCA, and drinks on the rooftop of NOMI afterwards