One glance at the recent studio work of Marianne McCoy tells you she is in touch with the language of dreams - sometimes literally.
"The night before the shoot, I had a dream about that image," McCoy said of the nude study titled "Twisting". "I just saw a figure slowly twisting back and forth. I didn't really know why I saw it, but I wanted to capture it."
Such dream realization is a relatively common occurrence with McCoy since she began shooting studio portraits two years ago. By using long exposures, soft focus and a lot of natural light, McCoy, a self-proclaimed "old soul," tries to create an old-fashioned, dreamy look in many of her monochromatic images.
The Seattle-based McCoy first caught the photography bug in the late 1980s while she was studying interior design at the Cornish College of Arts in Seattle. After earning her degree from Cornish in 1988, she began her professional career in sports photography, chiefly in the bicycle racing circuit.
Though the sports field is worlds away from the sepia-toned world of studio portraits for which she is now known, both styles share a common element of movement, as seen in her series of ambiguous portraits of a ghostly female dancer.
McCoy's works have been exhibited at several galleries on the West Coast - including Seattle's Benham Gallery, the Ansel Adams Gallery in San Francisco and the Biarritz Gallery in Portland, Ore. - and have also been shown in Paris. In June, she will earn an M.F.A.-equivalent certification from the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle.
At least one family member is getting in on her act. McCoy's daughter, Kristie Carlon, was recently the subject of a portrait evoking a vaguely Mediterranean feel. "Kristie styled all the clothes herself," a proud McCoy adds. "She looks like a princess, doesn't she?"