Margaret McCarthy

Artist Statement


As a travel-landscape photographer I’d travel many miles for a photograph.  These storefront window mannequins were photographed as I walked nearby New York City neighborhoods, most within a six-block radius of my home.  I photographed from the street as I passed by.

It’s easy to walk by them during the day.  At night, like actors in a spotlight, they demanded my attention.

Like the landscapes I’m drawn to, they radiate a sense of isolation; their worlds are self- contained, each with its own “genius loci” or spirit of place, seemingly outside of time.  Their store-front worlds are complete onto themselves.

Their theatrical tableaux pose poignant questions:  What makes us human?  How do we each create our own identity?  How fragile is that identity, our humanity?  They suggest a future shared with A.I., in virtual worlds.  They speak to our vulnerability, mortality and the constant possibility of dislocation.

Through the close up of my lens, the love they were created with is apparent to me.

Margaret McCarthy brings the eye of a poet to her photography, exploring archetypes of myth and dream in her imagery.  Particularly inspired and indebted to Celtic myth, she photographs the landscapes of the ancient world with an immediate, intuitive reaction to the unique spirit or “genius loci” of each iconic place. Her work has taken her to the standing stones across Europe, the pyramids of Mexico, and the castros of Celtic Spain.

Recent honors include American Society of Media Photographers BEST OF ASMP 2020, Honorable Mention in 2020’s 14th JULIA MARGARET CAMERON AWARD for Women Photographers and a Merit Award in the ALL ABOUT PHOTO AWARDS 2020.  She’s been named among the “Best of the Best Emerging Fine Art Photographers” by BW GALLERIST Magazine and as a “Photographer to Watch” by ARTZEALOUS.

McCarthy’s extensive list of exhibitions include: the Fogg Art Museum, The Griffin Museum of Photography, the Overseas Press Club and The Hudson River Museum, as well as numerous galleries, universities and public exhibition spaces. Her “Divine Feminine” series is part of the Kinsey Institute Art Collection.

She continues to document the peace and social justice movements as American history unfolds.

A few of the fine art publications where her work has appeared include:
BW GALLERIST (Best of Best, 2016) ARTZEALOUS, (Photographers to Watch, 2016)  Aline Smithson’s LENSCRATCH,  SHADOW AND LIGHT Magazine, MUSEÈ Magazine, Julie Grahame’s aCURATOR,  LE JOURNAL de la PHOTOGRAPHIE,  Elizabeth Avedon’s Photography BlogSpot, University of Georgia’s ARTS AND LETTERS JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY CULTURE,  WRITING ON WATER  (MIT Press), PARABOLA Magazine and Nancy McCrary’s SOUTH X SOUTHEAST photomagazine.

McCarthy has been awarded fellowship grants from The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ragdale Foundation and The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences.  A graduate of New York City’s School of Visual Arts, she has juried its BFA Scholarship Awards Panel; she has taught and mentored art students through The Great Lakes Colleges New York Arts Program.

An accomplished poet, Margaret McCarthy’s poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines, journals and anthologies; her collection NOTEBOOKS FROM MYSTERY SCHOOL (Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, 2015) was selected as a New Women’s Voices Award finalist.

McCarthy publishes a web broadside, A VISION AND A VERSE, combining her imagery and poetry.