Maggie Shannon Interview - The Hopper Prize

Maggie Shannon

Maggie Shannon on curiosity as the impetus for new work, photographing pie eating contests, & passion as an overarching theme to connect projects.

How did you get into making art?

I don’t really remember a specific moment, I just feel like I was always encouraged to make art! My parents were incredibly supportive and I was lucky enough to have some amazing art teachers in elementary school and high school as well. I think it was my curiosity though! I can blame a lot of things on that.

What are you currently working on?

I have a few different things that I’m exploring at the moment. I recently worked on a personal project that had me on the road traveling to different county fairs in the West photographing pie eating contests. I met so many incredible people along the way and want to share their stories, ranging from 4-H kids to Wyoming race car drivers. I’m also hoping to expand my midwife story outside of Los Angeles, with a focus on rural healthcare.

A lot of my work tends to be about something personal from my own life.

Maggie Shannon

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

This series started from a conversation I was having with a close friend who’s a doula, Paige Schwimer. She mentioned that there could be a rise in home births in the United States due to the pandemic. This piqued my interest so I started reaching out to midwives across the country and found out she was right.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I tend to work on distinct projects but there’s usually a broader, over arching theme to a lot of them depending on what I’m feeling passionate or curious about at the time. A lot of my work tends to be about something personal from my own life as well. For Extreme Pain, I was interested in finding out what it was like to give birth during a pandemic, but I’m also hoping to be a mother myself some day and I wanted to learn more!

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

A typical day at my studio can vary as I also work as a freelance editorial and commerical photographer, and also travel for work now that things are returning to normal. I usually have a coffee and try to tackle emails and then go down the to do list. Hopefully there’s a fun assignment or shoot that allows me to stretch my creative muscles.

Who are your favorite artists?

Lora Webb Nichols

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I discover a lot of new artists through Instagram but I’m trying not to rely on that platform as much. I think through word of mouth and my community. I’m in a few different group chats with other photographers and we’re always sharing what’s inspiring us. I’ve found some incredible and inspiring new work that way!

Maggie Shannon is an artist based in Los Angeles who was recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist:

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