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Photographer Marilyn Hayes

Author: LeeAnn DiSanti
Issue: June, 2011, Page 23
Photos by Garrett Cook

Photographer Marilyn M. Hayes arranges a fan coral on treated watercolor paper before exposing it to sunlight.

Profession: Photographer

Company: Hayes PARC, Phoenix; (602) 230-7879;

Medium: Fine-art photography

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Photography and Master of Fine Arts in Photographic Studies, Arizona State University

Background: When photographer Marilyn Hayes was young, she often would water her backyard with a garden hose, praying for greenery to pop up. “You always want what you don’t have,” she muses, explaining, “I grew up in Arizona, in the desert.” It is this love of lush landscapes that comes through in her photography, which she creates without a camera, using 19th-century early photographic processes.

Hayes produces detailed silhouettes by placing such natural materials as sea fans, banana tree leaves, bird of paradise blossoms or hydrangea blooms on chemically treated watercolor paper and exposing them to sunlight. She then rinses off the chemical, yielding a rich blue image, called a cyanotype, or a brown-toned photograph, called a Van Dyke print.

In 2008, Hayes launched her own company, Hayes PARC (Photographic Arts & Resource Center), and began offering her prints through Scottsdale retailer bungalow as an affordable way for homeowners to obtain one-of-a-kind fine art. She also works with designers and clients to create pieces that can be customized by size and subject material.

The artist first learned the printing methods while experimenting with a variety of photographic processes in college. Hayes soon developed an affinity for 19th-century photography and a particular interest in artists who specialized in abstract, almost sculptural images of plants—qualities much like those captured in her own prints.

“When I’m working with plants, it’s like I’m creating a still life,” Hayes says. She prefers delicate natural materials that can be manipulated. To produce an envisioned image, the artist will make cuts in leaves or pull apart and reassemble flowers, adding depth to the resulting print.

“One plant equals one exposure,” she says about her photographs. “They truly are originals.”

Photos - From left:  A brown Van Dyke print on watercolor paper, measuring 15"H x 22"W, reveals a fern frond. • A cyanotype on watercolor paper, measuring 30"H x 30"W, shows the image of a fan coral.

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