We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Hurlbut and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I grew up in Laguna Beach and I’m blessed to still be able to live here. My parents encouraged my decision to graduate from college with a Fine Art Degree and loaned me $3000 to start a stained glass business in their garage. I paid it back from my profits after my first year exhibiting at the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach. The second best influence was meeting Spence Hurlbut, a fellow exhibitor and full time sculptor. Not only did we marry, but he was the business manager most artists desperately need, He built me a beautiful workspace in his home and forced/encouraged me to learn time management, true expenses and how to price my work to make a living.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The photography world is SATURATED with amazing professional photographers, and cellphone image quality gets better and better every year. It’s a very competitive industry. I learned I needed to specialize- so I became the “Laguna Beach Photographer”. I work out of my home which allows me to keep my costs down and pass that on to clients. All of Laguna Beach is my studio and as a lifelong resident I have a variety of locations I can suggest, plus a very private one overlooking the ocean. I’ve stuck with natural lighting and helping people feel comfortable. As an “older” photographer I’m very at ease working with all ages and that is the key- you can have excellent digital photography skills- and believe me there are many photographers that excel in that area- but if you cannot connect with your client and help them enjoy the process, plus bring out their natural beauty, you’ll have a hard time in the business. Oh, and that Fine Art degree- all those lessons in composition, light and shadow, color and contrast – I use all the time!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If this was a weekday visit in the winter- First day would be the “Laguna Coffee Company” for a freshly roasted latte, then next door to “Laguna Surf & Sport” to get an update on the surf and tide before heading over to the beach for a morning walk. Late in the morning we’d head down to the Lost Pier Cafe, which is right on the beach, for a breakfast burrito. That afternoon we’d visit “The Hip District” in Laguna – walking along Pacific Coast Highway from Thalia to Bluebird – making sure to visit the classic record shop “Sound Spectrum” and the delight gift shops “Twig”, “The Soul Place” and “The Vintage Poster” just to name a few. Sunset is early, so back to beach to breathe in the salty air and welcome the night. The rest of the week we would visit the art galleries and art museum, have lunch downtown, hike the coastal hills and canyons, plus take a day trip up to Balboa Island in Newport and another to San Juan Capistrano to explore the mission.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Sawdust Art Festival https://sawdustartfestival.org/ This organization gave me the place to sale my artwork for 38th years while working from home and raising our daughter! Plus the creative freedom to switch from Stained Glass to Photography
All of these pictures were taken by me