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Mary McCartney

Mary McCartney

Mary McCartney is a British photography and motion work artist known for her unique ability to draw out rare moments of unguarded, emotional intimacy in her subjects. Working across genres and mediums from portraiture to documentary film, her work aims to capture the feelings that lie at the root of things in order to not just document a person or place, but to connect with them.

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NEWS

Mary McCartney exhibition to feature shots of sister Stella and Kate Moss

Mary McCartney exhibition to feature shots of sister Stella and Kate Moss

Evening Standard · 28 Feb, 2023 @ 01:12

Mary McCartney is to stage a photography exhibition which captures “unexpected moments” from her life over the last 30 years – including shots of her sister Stella and supermodel Kate Moss.

 

About the Artist

Mary McCartney is a British photography and motion work artist known for her unique ability to draw out rare moments of unguarded, emotional intimacy in her subjects. Working across genres and mediums from portraiture to documentary film, her work aims to capture the feelings that lie at the root of things in order to not just document a person or place, but to connect with them.

Born in London, England in 1969, McCartney was drawn to photography from a young age. Accompanying her mother, photographer and musician Linda McCartney, to her dark room in Soho, Mary McCartney was captivated by the magic of an image developing on photo paper before her eyes. She became a keen observer of the world around her, eventually making her own foray into photography in her early twenties. Growing up in an artistic family, McCartney spent her youth surrounded by art books and attending exhibitions. In addition to her mother’s work, McCartney was inspired by the black-and-white photography of Edward Steichen and Diane Arbus.

Raised in and around London but spending summers at a remote family farmhouse in Scotland, McCartney was deeply impacted by the contrast between her two childhood worlds. The heightened intensity of emotion and sensory experiences McCartney felt in the countryside after leaving London’s urban chaos plays out in her work, in which she seeks to dive to the very root of her subject. This desire for closeness and her interest in human stories makes McCartney a particularly insightful portrait photographer.

Before a shoot, she researches her sitter closely, learning how to make them feel at ease during the session. On the day, she spends time trying to bond with her subject before ever reaching for her camera. Developing a real closeness between herself and her sitter, each of her images seems to reveal an intimate insight into even those subjects who are constantly in the public eye. In 2015, McCartney was invited to photograph Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace to commemorate her becoming the longest-reigning British monarch in history.

Though famous faces make up some of McCartney’s best-known portraits, her oeuvre is also deeply personal. She views her photography as a sort of visual diary, often turning to the people and places most important to her own life as the subjects of her work. More spontaneous than her portrait work, these images serve as a kind of portrait of the artist herself, revealing the emotions behind her experience of the world around her and opening an intimate dialogue between artist and viewer.

McCartney’s creative pursuits extend far beyond photography, and she is also an acclaimed cookbook author, documentary filmmaker, and television host. In 2022, she directed her first feature documentary, If These Walls Could Sing, highlighting the untold history of Abbey Road Studios where her father, Paul McCartney, famously recorded. For the film, McCartney’s adept ability to connect with her photography subjects shined through in her interviews of musical artists who recorded at the studios, drawing out not just the history of the place but the emotions surrounding it.

McCartney’s work is held in major public collections around the world, from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London to the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Paris. In 2023, more than 30 years of her photography work, characterised by her insightful eye and enduring openness, was highlighted in the exhibition Can We Have A Moment? Three Decades of Photographs in Britain at Sotheby’s, London.

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