Maisie Marshall describes herself as a social documentary photographer, and in her work tells beautiful human stories. Sensitive and emotive, this young storyteller has already caught the attention of publications like Huck which featured her series about the British Rodeo Cowboy Association. We speak to her about finding her niche within the photography world and her future aspirations.
Creative Review: How did you decide to study photography at university? What drew you to the medium?
Maisie Marshall: I started taking photographs from a young age and fell in love with it as a visual medium. There was something more about it than making the work, it was the people I got to meet and the emotions that were attached to the images that made me become overwhelmed with passion for it.
Photography helped me tell stories and as I grew a bit older I started to see how it could be used as a tool to help people.
CR: How would you define your work? Are there some recurring themes in the work you do?
MM: Throughout the last three years I learnt that I would like to create two types of documentary photography work. Firstly, work that is fun and playful, that tells stories of the people who do the most amazing things. I think with this kind of documentary work allows me the freedom to play with the output and how I can get people to engage with the content.
Secondly I want to create social documentary work that is not about me as a photographer but purely about and for my subjects. I have grown tired of seeing documentary photographers who only care about their own egos. I want the output of my social documentary work to have an impact for the subjects that I am working with so that they truly benefit.
CR: What advice do you have for younger students who want to get into doing the sort of photojournalistic work you do?
MM: I am probably not anywhere near experienced enough to give advice. However, I think I would say if you want to become a photojournalist or a documentary photographer, don’t just use photography as a visual narrative but also use it as a tool to help your subjects. Use social media and online spaces to engage with an audience – an audience that will help bring awareness and generate change and impact for the subjects and issues that you are documenting.
Be aware of helping to build equality in your area of the creative industry. If you aren’t already, I would recommend that you follow platforms such as Natives Photograph, Diversify Photo and Women Photograph on social media, so that you can witness their amazing content produced by photographers on the platforms. Share, raise awareness for the issues they are highlighting, and engage with what they are discussing.
CR: What was your favourite thing about doing the degree course that you did at Falmouth?
MM: It was my lectures and friends that made the course and helped me along the way. I felt that the course was like a family and what’s really lovely is when you leave university you have this amazing network that you know will support each other in years to come.
CR: What sort of work would you like to do now that you have graduated?
MM: I would like to explore new types of technology so that I could start to apply it to documentary storytelling. I would also love to keep expanding and working on my long-form social documentary work and my more light-hearted stories. They mean so much to me, that whatever I end up doing I know I will always work on them.
Above: A film by Marshall, which tells the story of Graham and Liylan’s golden wedding anniversary and Liylan’s subsequent dementia diagnosis