We had the good fortune of connecting with Maddi Manheimer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maddi, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I come from a family of artists and creatives. Although my original plan was to be an ASL (American Sign Language) teacher, I like to think that it was my destiny to become a photographer. From both of my grandma’s paintings, to my grandpa’s creations, to my mom’s jewelry making and vintage fashion collection – all influenced my journey in some way. Most of my family got the talent to create things with their hands; unfortunately, I didn’t, Instead, I have an eye for photography. I started taking photos when I was very young, but It wasn’t until I took a darkroom class in high school that I discovered my forever passion. I love being able to show others how I view the world through my camera lens.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a fashion and abstract photographer. My art is inspired from, and has elements of, other art forms. I take risks with my photography and experiment with different viewpoints. I like to break standards and create images that draw in the viewer and give them a reason to study them more. Although I do some black and white photography, my photographs are primarily in color.
I also have my own clothing line called The Madz Shop (Links at the end of the article). My line includes swimwear and streetwear using my unique abstract photography in patterns. My pieces are colorful, comfortable, affordable and gender neutral. It features unisex, men’s, women’s, and plus sizes. They are also as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. By wearing a Madz design, you are supporting an artist and the planet.
My journey hasn’t been easy. I decided to transfer colleges during my junior year to advance my education. I graduated in 2019 with a BFA in Fashion Photography from Columbia College Chicago. I then traveled back and forth from New York to L.A. for interviews. At the start of last year, I moved to L.A. and got a position with an entertainment company. I was given the opportunity to be the head photographer at red carpet and celebrity events. I was living the life that I had always dreamed of when sadly COVID hit and all of my dreams got put on hold. I came back to St. Louis to be with my family. I started reaching out to local fashion designers and collaborating on photoshoots while creating my clothing brand. I’ve had to reinvent myself, push forward, develop my craft and continue to apply for jobs. I will return to L.A. one day to finish what I started.
I’ve learned along the way that there is going to be discouragement and rejection. There are going to be people who don’t believe in you, which creates self-doubt. I try to keep a positive attitude, I’m driven by the subjective criticism and I learn from it. At the end of the day, you are never going to please everyone, so you just have to do what makes you happy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Anytime my friends visit St. Louis, I recommend and take them to these places.
I’m a huge St. Louis Blues hockey fan, and it’s always fun to see the game live. If it’s not the season for hockey, then I take them to Busch Stadium to watch baseball. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, the atmosphere and all the bars/restaurants at Ballpark Village make for a fun night out.
Obviously, if you are a photographer or appreciate photography, then you should visit the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum.
Forest Park is the best summer spot. You can have a picnic on Art Hill while overlooking the fountains. Then walk through the beautiful, and free, Art Museum and world famous St. Louis Zoo.
The Grove is the best place to go, if you are looking for a drink and a bite to eat. My favorite place is Taha’a Twisted Tiki. They have the best drinks, it’s tiki themed, and it has a big yard of fire pits and yard games.
I’ve been a figure skater since I was 5, so one of my favorite spots in the winter is Steinberg Skating Rink where you can skate outside under the city lights.
And last but not least, If you are into horses, especially mini horses, then you should schedule a tour at R&R Ranch. They are a rescue sanctuary and you can’t help but smile when a mini horse comes galloping right by you. So cute!
There’s always something to do in the Lou! Just have to search for the real special places.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to give credit to my parents. They have always been my biggest supporters. They encouraged and pushed me to follow my dreams. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
I’ll always be grateful for Verser Engelhard, who was my fashion photography teacher during my senior year at Columbia College. I learned everything I needed to know- from tips and tricks to how it is in the real world. He was the only one that put up with all my questions and was patient enough to explain things in my learning style. He has been the greatest mentor and teacher I have ever had. Not to mention, he is a pretty great photographer himself. I want to thank him for giving me the strength and skills to follow my dreams. I hope I am making him proud!
Other: TikTok – @manheimerphotos For The Madz Shop: Website: madzshop.com Instagram: @the_madz_shop Facebook: @themadzshop TikTok: madz_shop