Being Mary Ellen Matthews
Behind all of the photographs featured during television's acclaimed Saturday Night Live is artist and staff photographer Mary Ellen Matthews. Since 1999 she's been solely responsible for every iconic image that the sketch comedy's produced after taking over for its former photographer Edie Baskin. Taking portraits of the hosts and musical guests in the same studio where the show broadcasts; Matthews wit and unchallenged imagination has turned the shows commercial breaks into a trademark of their own. This visual and aesthetic style is undoubtedly a direct result of her background in film production and music publicity. Connecting with the various entertainers she encounters on a weekly basis the personality that every photo captures alludes to a seasoned skill to be admired. Outside of the walls of NBC Matthews shoots for a variety of publications such as Rolling Stone, Harpers Bazaar and Marie Claire. Even touches back to her careers roots working as a still photographer as she's shoot for the films What Happens in Vegas and Baby Mama. In an industry that has endless demands Matthews has managed to stay ahead of the game by simply doing what comes naturally to her. The blank slate approach she takes into every shoot allows for the inner genius to step forward and create images that are as spontaneous as the photo shoot themselves. No fancy backdrops or set-ups. Just Matthews, her subjects, and perhaps a costume or a prop or two. Its obvious that when you know what you're doing it shows.