Westminster PhD Astrobiology student Mara Leite recently had her photography work recognised in ‘SPECTACLE’, a photo collection published by the National Geographic to celebrate rare and astonishing photographs from around the world.

Mara, who has always been attracted to the world of visual arts, was thrilled to be able to continue her photography career in London, while studying a PhD in Astrobiology at the University of Westminster’s School of Life Sciences, which focuses on finding signs of extra-terrestrial life on Mars and solutions for changes of its colonization.

Originally from Seattle and inspired by the city’s skyline and nearby attractions, Mara bought her first professional camera in 2014. She is completely self-taught and her work has often been featured in local news outlets, lifestyle and photography magazines, as well as being exhibited in fine art galleries. Over the years, Mara explored a range of different photographic genres, discovering her ultimate passion for landscapes and cityscapes.

Mara’s photo illustrates the top of the iconic Space Needle behind a thick blanket of mist, shot together with a ferry leaving the city. Sharing her thoughts on the photo’s publication, she said: “Becoming a published National Geographic photographer is something that I never expected, especially so early on in my photography career. What’s more is that I was able to achieve it with a foggy shot of my hometown.

“Seattle was listed as one of the most photographed cities in the world, so coming up with something unique from a National Geographic point of view is a dream come true!”

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