After graduating the MFA Photo/ Video department in 2013, Maggie Shannon worked as a product photographer in New York “at this really crummy sales company,” she recalls. “It was pretty awful. But I was sending work out,” entering contests and applying for grants to support the portrait series she’d made into her thesis project. Then she won Magnum’s 30 Under 30 — “such a huge boon,” she says. She quit her day job. The prize offered portfolio reviews and meetings with editors and working photographers who showed her the steps to creating a career as an editorial shooter. The most important advice she got was to shoot the work she wanted to be hired for.
Shannon began documenting women who make experimental music, which became her series “Noise Girls.” Her images show women in the artful chaos of their makeshift studios, often lit with poppy flash. She emailed editors, and got meetings and jobs. Her first real assignment was for Brooklyn Magazine, photographing a musician at a Brooklyn bar. While “Noise Girls” had prepared her to work in different kinds of environments, she says editorial assignments forced her think fast on her feet. Recently, Shannon has brought her airy palette and eye for strange shapes to fashion stories and look books. “It’s been fun flexing that creative muscle,” she says.
To find out more about Maggie Shannon's life post graduation and to read her interview with Rebecca Robertson, please click here.
Each year since 1999, the editors of PDN have selected 30 emerging photographers who represent a variety of styles and genres and have demonstrated a distinctive vision, creativity, and versatility. This year, the editors reviewed the work of close to 300 photographers from around the world. To be considered, the photographers must have been shooting on their own professionally for five years or less. Most were nominated by photo editors, art directors, curators, educators and fellow photographers around the world, and some were invited by editors based on work seen in promotions, portfolio reviews or photo contests.