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Location:
West Lafayette
Medium:
Photography
FEATURED WORK
Marsha Williamson Mohr

“When photography was expensive and you couldn’t correct the color or exposure, I was out there shooting away. Carrying heavy tripods, medium format cameras with slow slide film, I hiked until I was exhausted.”

Working as a professional photographer for nearly 30 years, Marsha Williamson Mohr jokingly wonders if she is headed back to being a hobbyist. Asked what inspires her, she quickly says, “Too much,” and to hear her tell it, she can’t go anywhere, or look at anything without picturing a photograph in her mind.

“Interestingly enough, this started as a hobby,” she said. “Then it became a challenge to market my work in magazines and books, and now, now I aspire to still be successful, but to collect a mass volume of as many various images as possible.” And with a smile she says, “It sounds like it’s headed back to being a hobby, doesn’t it?”

As an 11-year-old, Marsha says she had an “unusual fixation and knowledge of the great west and our national parks.” A young 4-H member, she was her family’s navigator for a month-long trip to the American west, and “After 8,000 miles, seeing and photographing many national parks with my little Kodak Brownie camera in black and white, I had the perfect subject material for my 4H photography project,” she said. “I won a blue ribbon.” And the career of one of Indiana’s most prolific photographers was developed.

She began a serious pursuit as a professional photographer in 1987, and her focus has been on the outdoors and natural surroundings because, “My father was such a good teacher of enjoying life and loving nature,” she said.

“As I started submitting work to publishers of high-end national publications, I had the market on something different, something that other photographers weren’t shooting, and I did not have competition – barns,” she said. “Barns with flower gardens, or rural scenes that screamed “Country.” Sure, I can photograph a waterfall or mountain and would have an occasional image published, but barns gave me my foot-in-the-door, so to speak.”

While barns opened the door to her decades-long career, Marsha’s body of work is much broader. “My rural photography is unique and defines me,” she said. “It has taken years and years to develop that perfect composition of a rural scene. The fence, the lane, the farmstead perfectly balanced. Oftentimes I would come home only to find the road overtook the scene, or the fence was too large. Rural photography is the hardest to capture in my opinion.”

As she talks about how much the art of photography has changed over the years, Marsha says she feels blessed to have become as successful as she has. “Yes, a lot of hard work and not giving up with failures has encouraged me to persevere,” she said. “When photography was expensive and you couldn’t correct the color or exposure, I was out there shooting away. Carrying heavy tripods, medium format cameras with slow slide film, I hiked until I was exhausted.”

She works in the digital age now, and her story comes full circle when she says, “It seems everyone is a photographer, and let me say I didn’t get too discouraged when my nine-year-old granddaughter took unbelievable photos her first year in 4H.”

Marsha knows her style will persist and that individuals purchasing her work appreciate the value of the labor and time. Asked why she applied to Indiana Artisan, she said, “To put a stamp of credibility on my work, to have the approval of qualified individuals, and to open the door to opportunity.” Since she was a young girl, she has made the most of her opportunities, creating many of them through her own talent and hard work. “To everyone I meet along the way, I give thanks, they have given my life worth,” she said.