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Meet Madeline Stoker of Madeline Shayne Photography in Arlington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madeline Stoker.

Madeline, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey as a photographer started at the age of 17, when I moved to New Delhi, India with my family. Given a hand-me down Kodak camera by my mom as a way of documenting my experiences, I learned the importance of remembering the extraordinary moments in our life’s story.

Before moving to India, I spent much of my childhood in the enchanted Arkansan Ozarks, painting with my artist grandmother in her cabin in the woods. Having a solid foundation of artistic ability, the blend of experiences in my life has fostered my unique talent for combining the artistry of traditional forms of painting with the documentary nature that photography has to offer. At the heart of every piece I create is an image that is not only beautiful but invites the viewer to visit my captivating world filled with magic, elegance, and everyday experiences turned fantastical.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In the eight years I have been a photographer, and in the four years since focusing on fine art photography I have found that there are two aspects of this career path that have, at times, felt particularly difficult to overcome:

The first is, of course, getting noticed. The internet is an incredible tool, one that can help people who live in some of the remotest locations in the world create a viable and, even more incredibly, THRIVING business. Being such a wonderful tool, it’s not surprising that almost every business (from the smallest entrepreneurial adventure to the largest multi-national corporation) has carved out their own space on the internet.

And while this presents many wonderful opportunities for these businesses, it has now become difficult for what could potentially be your next ideal customer to notice you amongst the masses of voices vying for their attention. Throughout the years, there have been many times where the low interaction with my attempts at connecting with my customers (whether that’s in the form of fewer sales in my shop, or less likes on an Instagram post) has been a blow to my confidence. However, I am of the firm opinion that opposition and struggles are the best teachers. Instead I have found a stronger sense of self-confidence in my talent and abilities that will allow me to more sustainably grow and run my business.

The second is convincing people that what I do is art. We live in a day and age where every home has a camera, and MANY of those cameras are very nice. Parents can take beautiful images of their children with very little training and just a little bit of know-how. It’s an incredible gift to live in this day and age! However, the photograph has lost a little bit of its novelty and has now become something quite commonplace. So when I tell people what I do, they often don’t understand what I mean when I say that I am artist who uses photography as my medium. However, I have found that talking to these people, showing them my work, and explaining the stories that have inspired each of my pieces, I often find that an entirely new world is opened up to them, and once again, photography becomes a novelty. It once again becomes an art form to be marveled at.

Madeline Shayne Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am fine art and conceptual photographer. As opposed to a more conventional photographer (whether they take landscapes, family portraits, event photography, etc.).

I consider myself a photo artist. Each of my pieces tells a story with an element of fantasy and magic to it that elevates each piece I create to a level of artistry you don’t see in conventional photography.

The level of artistry with which I approach each piece I aim to create is, to me, the key differentiating factor between what I do and what other photographers do. I don’t aim to capture a moment. I aim to tell the story behind that moment. The portraits I create don’t just show what your child looked like when they were 12 years old. Rather, through the use of props and costumes, I create portraits that show WHO your child was when they were 12 years old. What they liked to do, what interested them, and the endearing quirks that made up their personality.

What I am most proud of in my business is the artwork I am currently working on for the official book soundtrack for the New York Times-bestselling novel “The Green Rider” by Kristen Britain. The artwork will be completed by the end of October and I cannot wait to share it with the fans of this novel!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as being happy with where you are. Some people have businesses that they run on the side and only devote a few hours to a week. Some people have businesses that entirely support themselves and the lifestyle they want. I think all of these people would say their business is “successful,” even though some can’t live off of what they are making, because, more importantly, their business brings them joy.

More conventionally… I would absolutely love if my business could eventually support myself entirely and I could do this full-time. However, as long as I am enjoying the journey, I will count that as a success!

Pricing:

  • Keepsake Package – $500 – My favorite package, because this really allows me to delve into my art. Through the use of costumes, props, and styling, this package allows me to really delve into the personality and story of the individual in a way that is so much more than just a typical portrait. These are the pieces that you will want to have hanging on our walls forever, and I love being a part of that!
  • Lifestyle Package – $300 – These portrait sessions really allow me to explore who you are. Whether that’s joining you on your family boating trips to capture the joy of summer days, or shooting a family outing to Fenway Park with the family, I love helping you share these stories of who you REALLY are!
  • Milestone Package – $200 – A typical portrait session (for seniors, children, family portraits, etc.)… with perhaps a touch of magic, because I can’t help myself!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All costumes and headpieces by Madeline Stoker, except for headpieces in the following images: “LizHeadpieces-3” (straight on headshot with purple flower headpiece w/ jeweled portion hanging down forehead) and “Erika-1” (girl in purple dress sitting on log in green forest). These headpieces are by The Faery Ring (instagram: @thefaeryring).

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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