“live from new york”

Can you imagine photographing icons like Betty White and Prince? Well my podcast guest today doesn’t have to imagine… it’s HER JOB!?! Yep, American photographer Mary Ellen Matthews has been the in-house photographer at Saturday Night Live since 1999. She’s shot some of the most iconic entertainers in the world, but today, Mary Ellen is the one in the spotlight! You can listen to our conversation under that fabulous shot of Betty, or download ART FOR YOUR EAR wherever you get your podcasts.

Alright, first up, a few of my favorite shots that we talked about:

Yep, two Pauls… not to mention Andy Samberg as an olive, and Lizzo being fabulous, as usual!

Now, there were a bazillion shoots I wanted to ask her about, but I knew we were crunched for time. Here are a bunch of beauties that I’ll have to ask her about in person, someday:

How’s that for a lineup of amazingly talented people?! Betty White, Prince, and Chadwick Boseman… I mean, wow. Also, I’ve always wanted to be friends with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell. That’s a reasonable goal, right?

Ok, next… we quickly touched on the fact that Mary Ellen and her team have been creating animated pieces, and videos too! Here are couple featuring Will Forte (as a version of the ‘Sea Captain’), Melissa McCarthy, Donald Glover, and Oscar Isaac:

Fantastic! Now, as I mentioned, we recorded this conversation on a Friday. She had just photographed that week’s host, Benedict Cumberbatch, the day before, and was in the middle of editing/photoshopping when we talked. Obviously the images needed to be ready for Saturday. Well, she got them done… these are some of those photos:

Ahh, Benedict. Any time I hear his name, I can’t control myself and immediately link to this video of him reading a letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse. “JUST DO.”

Next up, the photos Mary Ellen took of Ashley Longshore at her house in New Orleans:

So. Much. Fun! And finally, I can’t finish this post without showing you some of the photos shot by Edie Baskin. She was the woman who brought Mary Ellen into the world of SNL, and then handed her the reins:

An icon shooting icons… LOVE. Thank you so much to Mary Ellen for taking the time to do this with me; and thanks to you for listening to the episode AND to my preamble about the future of ART FOR YOUR EAR. See you in a couple of weeks for a brand new episode, as we head toward the big 2-3-0. ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Mary Ellen on Instagram
  2. Ashley Longshore / Last time she was on AFYE
  3. Amy Sherald on AFYE


comments (4)

  1. Christi /// 05.16.2022 /// 1:23pm

    Love that you included the photos you were talking about! Great interview!

  2. Ann /// 05.23.2022 /// 6:18am

    I always wondered who shot these beautiful images!

  3. Liz Miller /// 05.23.2022 /// 7:32am

    I’m so sad to hear that art for your ear is ending! I’ve been listening for several years now and always liked forward to the weekly show and then bimonthly. I completely understand. There are only so many hours in a day and I think it’s great that you are focusing on your art (your show looked amazing) and your books (can’t wait for the new one). That being said, I will really miss your regular interviews of artists. I guess I’ll have to hit the archives and listen to old ones! Have you thought about writing a book that highlights your favorite interviews or would it be too hard to narrow that down? Thoroughly enjoyed this interview of MaryEllen Matthews and I look forward to listening to the last (sniff) interviews coming up.

  4. the jealous curator /// 07.08.2022 /// 3:34pm

    oh thanks so much, liz 🙂 xo

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