About Mary

Mary Schilpp is an award-winning photographer with 25 years of experience in creative photography.

Mary studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she received her BFA in photography.

Her photographs have appeared in  ESPN the Magazine, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Women, TENNIS and USTA Magazine. Corporate clients include Fuji Photo Film USA, Human Rights Campaign, Marriott, Nasdaq-100, Nike, PGATOUR, and USTA.  She has won numerous awards, including a PICTURES OF THE YEAR (POY award) in the magazine image category, as well as a NATJA (North American Travel Journalist) award.




It all started back in kindergarten, or in the parking lot of my high school, depending on how you look at it.

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher had arranged a field trip to a local pumpkin farm.  My parents sent me on my way, armed with a brownie camera.  Unbeknownst to them, I planned to skip the fieldtrip, and hide in the bushes until the school day was over, since for some reason I did not want to go on the bus to the pumpkin farm.  When I didn’t arrive at school on time, which was only a few blocks away, my teacher called to see if I was coming.  When my mother informed her that I left on time, and should have arrived already, they grew concerned, and my teacher and principal went out looking for me, as did my mother.  When my mother spotted me down the street, she stopped the car and got out to get me.  At this moment, I instinctively raised my Brownie, and snapped a photo, before turning and running.

My documentary style was born!

This went on for sometime, until I was apprehended.  Funny thing, I have no recollection of the pumpkin farm, but I can still see that photo in my mind: my bewildered mother, standing beside our 1966 VW bus, in the middle of Burlington Boulevard, trying to collect me. Thinking back on the photo, I’m amused when I realize the low angle is the product of the height of a five year old.

There were future field trips that I submitted to more easily, and more rolls of 120 film put thru the brownie, which my father developed at the kitchen sink, and later taught me how to print in the bathroom.

When I was in high school, I was fortunate to do an independent study in photography, after exhausting all the photo classes that were offered.  During my time in the photo lab, I met a lad named Kenny, and we became friends.  One day during lunch, we were hanging out in my mustard colored 1972 VW bus in the parking lot.  I don’t remember the whole conversation, but I do remember Kenny saying that he was going to be a photographer.  It had never occurred to me that this was a career option, but somehow it lodged somewhere in my brain. I was a senior, (and he a junior), I had already applied to several SUNY schools, where I had planned to study math and science.  As a matter of fact, I went as far as attending about a week’s worth of classes at SUNY Stony Brook, before deciding that was not the life for me.  The following January I began my studies at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City.

So, depending on how you look at it, my photography career began either on that fateful fall day of the pumpkin patch field trip, or in the parking lot of Smithtown HS West.

Wherever it began, photography has been a great career for me, and I haven’t turned down a field trip since.