http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/02/a-young-photographers-natural-gift/?hpt=hp_c2 anyone see any pix of beth in a thong?... but seriously... maybe howard could hire this girl to give him a few pointers... [h=2]A young photographer’s natural gift[/h] At 15, Maria Sardari wanted an iPod for Christmas. Her mother insisted that she get a camera instead. Although she had never taken photography seriously before, she devoted herself to taking a picture every day for a year and learned as she went along. “I just want to inspire people and have them connect with something that I create,” says Sardari, now 17. Sharing her images on Flickr, she developed a following online and engaged with people around the world from her home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Last year, she attended a workshop in New York run by photographer Brooke Shaden, one of her idols. More recently, she sold a print to Greg Silverman, production president of Warner Bros. Pictures. “It’s been pretty overwhelming,” Sardari says. “I never expected to be where I am today.” A native of the eastern European nation of Moldova, she took dance lessons and art classes when she was younger. But photography came naturally for her, in a way that painting and drawing never did. She says her photos are often inspired by Renaissance art and surrealism, listing painters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt among her influences. “Most of the time what I create is what I imagine in my mind,” she says. “It just comes to me. I don’t really think about it.” Starting out, Sardari took a lot of self-portraits. Now her friends offer to stand in as models, wearing vintage dresses that she picks up at thrift stores. Most of her shoots take place in a forest or field near her home. Afterward, she pulls the images into Photoshop to enhance the colors and lighting – or to edit out a prop to make it look like the subject is floating in air. When her mother first pushed her to get a camera, she was torn. “Like most teenagers, I wanted the fancy new iPod,” she says. “I didn’t end up getting an iPod, but I’m glad it turned out this way.” – Brett Roegiers, CNN Warner Bros. is owned by Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.