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Meet Marissa Mooney of M|Mooney Images

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Mooney.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marissa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Photography was never something that was on my radar–In college, I was studying modern dance and gender studies. My first year in college, my dad got me a nice digital camera as a gift. To be honest, I felt sort of guilty about him spending the money on something I had never used… so I started walking around my neighborhood and took bad still life photos for 2 hours at a time, every day.

I then progressed to taking portraits of the dancers I worked with in the dance department and fell in love with portraiture. I found that choreography in dance and structuring a subject in a photo had many parallels. I didn’t stop photographing–It became an artistic outlet, and I loved the intimacy it allowed me to get with people I didn’t know. I still, to this day, view my photography as an opportunity to foster an environment for authentic movement and gesture for my subjects. The nuance of our movement is very telling in who we are and how we want to be seen.

Lately, I’ve been interested in incorporating various props, materials, and textural substances to enhance the physical experiences of my subjects. I’ve found that the body moves in unique and genuine ways when being confronted with substances that trigger a sensory response.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Because I was lucky enough to have started my photography journey from a place of discovery, I was able to make it what I wanted it to be. I was really just exploring what was exciting to me.

At that point, my energy was directed towards dance, so I didn’t feel the pressure to excel in photography. I feel like this freedom has made it a relatively smooth road. Most of the struggles I experience now are more about navigating all of the artistic interests I have–I want to incorporate all sorts of different elements into my work, and it’s a challenge to create work that looks cohesive.

M|Mooney Images – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a portrait and movement photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. My background in dance gives me an opportunity to connect with my subjects in a way that is visceral and raw—I love moving with my subjects rather than dictating movements from the outside as an observer.

My background in gender studies and my experience as a professional birth doula allow me to connect with my subjects in a way that makes them feel safe, respected, and seen; I aim to help my subjects be presented in a way that feels true to who they are, without projection.

I’m passionate about fostering genuine intimacy, connection, and textural movement in my photo shoots.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me means freedom of expression and pride in the work you do. Also, this may not sound romantic to most artistic communities, but it’s nice if people recognize your work and see the value in it too.

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