Born in London in 1969, Mary McCartney’s photographic work has focused on discovering those rare moments of unguarded, emotionally-charged intimacy that offers us a new insight to the subject.
McCartney’s work has concentrated on the world of portrait and candid reportage photography and is suffused with a deep personal investment that captures the creative chemistry between Mary and her subjects.
Mary’s responses to her wide variety of subjects are as spontaneous as they are studied, as shown by her first solo exhibition ‘Off Pointe – A Photographic Study of The Royal Ballet After Hours’ in October 2004. A series of powerful images that reveals the chaos of life behind the scenes of the elite Royal Ballet and the contrast between the sometimes grueling, painful lifestyle of the dancers and their fairy tale performances.
In ‘Playing Dress Up’ (Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas 2007), McCartney chronicled the rarefied and at times, both monotonous and madcap, world of high fashion, both on the catwalk and backstage with an unreserved collection of images.
McCartney’s talent for encapsulating the inspirations, histories and personalities of her subjects, such as Tracey Emin dressed as Frida Kahlo, is most evident in her previous exhibition ‘Developing’ (The Lowry, Manchester, 2013). Showcasing her distinctive style in portraying visually vulnerable, off-guard portraits that seem unlikely without McCartney’s affinity with her subject.
McCartney also has a number of photographs in several group commissions that were exhibited internationally including the National Portrait Gallery, London (Gay Icons, 2009) and The Waterfront, New York City (Strength and Beauty Embodied by Avant-Garde Women, 2007).
In 2013 McCartney was commissioned by the legendary lens manufacturer Zeiss, to shoot their prestigious annual Zeiss Art Calendar. Entitled ‘Moments in the City’ and featuring Gemma Arterton and Alec Baldwin, the images were shot in New York City using black-and-white film and exude McCartney’s characteristic enigmatic and filmic quality.
McCartney’s ongoing project, entitled #Someone, has seen her utilizing the digital medium of Instagram to capture spontaneous and personal moments in her distinctive and unguarded style.
Monochrome & Colour is McCartney’s most recent publication containing nearly 300 images taken between 1994 and 2014 and for the first time shows her personal work as a cohesive body. Taken without the agenda of a creative brief, these photographs show the instinctive nature of McCartney’s photography; a desire to record the life around her.