Maggie McCauley, administrative coordinator at the Sorenson Center for the Arts, is an accomplished black-and-white photographer. “Photography is my passion,” she says. “If I could do it full time, I would. And I would be completely happy.”
Much of her work is untitled because McCauley is reluctant to influence the observer. She would like people to think about what they see, not what she sees. She enjoys landscape and interior photography and chooses her subjects carefully, but finds describing her choices difficult. “It depends on the mood I’m in,” she says.
One of McCauley’s favorite photos, shown here, was taken about five years ago on an early foggy morning. She was walking along a wooded path in upstate New York when the birch tree caught her eye. “It was one of those mornings that was going to be a beautiful day,” McCauley says. “The birch stood out from the crowd. I tried to capture its individuality, very simple but strong.”
Old buildings, with their shadows and textures, also captivate McCauley, who lives in Uxbridge, a small central Massachusetts town that once had a thriving textile industry. “There was an old brick mill there that had beautiful light,” McCauley says, and she often walked over to take pictures of it.
McCauley generally avoids pictures with people, whom she finds difficult to capture. “I find that people tend to pose. Landscapes and buildings do not,” she says. “But even though there are no people in my pictures, they’re not really desolate or lonely. There was a presence once.”
McCauley also favors film over digital photography because it presents more of a challenge. “There’s no instant gratification,” she says. After taking photos for a stretch of time, she might spend a day developing film in her darkroom. “I challenge myself,” McCauley says. “In a darkroom, you have a negative, light bulb, and chemicals. Not all images work out to be what I envisioned when the shutter clicked. But sometimes moments that initially did not excite me turn out to be ones that are powerful.”