Some hold the impression that a real professional artist starts early in life and builds a portfolio of developing work over years. Marcia Mahoney breaks the mold, having gotten her start as a professional fine art photographer later in life. Her eye for framing and perspective involves an eclectic approach to her subjects, creating a unique look from a sharply keen eye. We asked her to tell us about her current gallery show and how she’s building on her current work.
How did you learn about Seaberg and how long have you been working with us?
I’ve worked with Seaberg for about four years. Several Filter Photo board members – Doug Fogelson and Maggie Meiners – recommended I contact you when I was trying to figure out framing for a particular photograph. I didn’t know the technical framing terms for what I wanted, but I could describe what it looked like in a gallery. Your staff was able to translate my description into reality.
Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve worked with us in the past?
I currently have a show of my own photography at Perspective Gallery in Evanston. Mat of Lamin-8 worked with me over several years to print the work and Seaberg framed it. It helps me a lot that Lamin-8 and Seaberg are all in the Artmill Group family of businesses. The end result is great in large part because they communicate directly with each other about my projects. Nothing gets lost in translation with me passing messages between the crafts.
Do you recall our first collaboration with you?
In 2015 I made a photograph of a custodian vacuuming the stage at the Palmer House hotel. He is center stage under the lights and the swoop of the cord from his vacuum mirrors the swoop of the velvet curtains. I wanted to frame it in a way that extended the feeling that he was “on stage.” I’d seen framing of Arlo Minkkinen’s work at Catherine Edelman Gallery and that was a starting point. When I described it to Laura at Seaberg, she knew exactly what I wanted, as Seaberg had framed the Minkkinen work! The moment I heard that, I knew I was in the right place.
What other kinds of work have we helped you with?
I have an eclectic collection of vintage photography, street and pop art, oil painting, gouache and traditional watercolors. Each calls for something different and Seaberg has helped me find the right presentation.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Again, eclectic. I like graphic color, pattern and structure, and black and white photography. I’m kind of all over the place.
What drew you into photography? What keeps you going?
I love the stories behind black and white street photography. I began by studying the exceptional photographers from Chicago’s Institute of Design and the fashion photographers that worked with Harper’s Bazaar art director, Alexey Brodovitch. While I truly love color (the walls in my home are very vibrant), I find it so seductive that it is distracting when I want to tell a story with a photo.
Do you have a specific focus to your photography? How would you describe that as?
I am finding my way in photography. My first love is black and white street photography, and that will always be a big part of me. Right now, however, I’m experimenting with collage. I am combining my photographs with scanned material. I’m not sure it’s going to result in anything, but I am having a lot of fun.
What is your favorite photo you’ve shot?
I’m not sure I have a favorite. They are like children – each has its own moment in the sun. But, Final Act, the photograph of the Palmer House custodian, will always have a special place in my heart.
In terms of collecting – I really like knowing the people whose work is in my home. I’m on a mission to meet as many artists as I can!
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers/artists?
I am an aspiring photographer. I came to the craft very late in life and I don’t have decades to make all the pictures I want to make, so I get frustrated when I feel artistically frozen. Personally, I get paralyzed when I look at the mountaintop, thinking too much about portfolios, shows, and finished bodies of work. It works best for me to say to myself, “Why don’t you have some fun today and make a picture or two?” If I do that, the bigger stuff happens.
See more of Marcia’s photography and learn about her upcoming shows on her site.
Schedule a Framing Consultation With One of Our Experts