Artist Spotlight: Maro Hagopian
Above: Razzy Star
Maro is a celebrity, lifestyle, and portrait photographer. Born in the suburbs of Detroit and having spent her teens in Las Vegas, she incorporates both the pop, glitzy influence of Las Vegas and the gritty industrial landscapes of Detroit into her images. She has been the official photographer for several premier New York City parties and a regular contributor to New York’s Village Voice for over seven years. Her work has also been published in The New York Times, Time Out NY, the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone magazine, Us magazine, and Spin among others. Recently, Maro’s "Nine Lives" project, featuring nine iconic felines, made it to Time magazine's editor’s blog.
The Advocate: The cats are so psychedelic. What inspired you to photograph them?
Maro: The cat project was a long time coming — being a subscriber to Cat Fancy at a young age, it was bound to be. It came out of an accidental photo I took of my cat Razzy Starr. I was shooting a model on a red backdrop. and during a break my cat walked on to the backdrop. I grabbed my camera and quickly caught her walking toward me — her expression is priceless. The photograph captures her intensity. She is an extremely sensitive, emotional cat. The use of color is a trademark in my nightlife photography. I thought, Why not make cats just as iconic as the people I photograph? They have distinct personalities, and I wanted to convey that in images that pop. Cats have attitude, after all.
Favorite celebrity you have photographed?
Lady Gaga. I photographed her after her first national appearance on Logo's New Now Next Awards. I loved shooting her, as she was so open to the camera and so interactive. She obviously embraced the attention and knew exactly what pose she wanted and served it. She's super passionate about her craft, which I completely respect and relate to.
Who are some photographers,(or artists, writers, etc., that have influenced you and your work?
I intentionally never studied other photographers because I wanted to find my own style first. Once I developed myself, I would come across work and realized I had a lot in common with some photographers. When I saw some of William Eggleston’s work, I realized that I was on the same page in the sense of this intense attraction to color and suburban landscape.
I find that I get a lot of inspiration and influence from music and films: early Duran Duran, Prince, Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg, and Andy Warhol all have had a huge impact on me as an artist.
See more of Maro's work at her website.