Fine art photographer Maureen Haldeman lands prestigious London exhibit

Local fine art photographer Maureen Haldeman has a lot going on these days. Her works are currently being featured at the pioneering ‘ECAD London’ fine art photography Gallery in England from March 3 to March 31. ECAD focuses primarily on black and white images that are “tranquil, calming, and intriguing,” which is right up Haldeman’s alley. Black and white photos are her passion.

She met the gallery owner in Paris in 2019; they stayed in contact throughout the pandemic, and he followed her work on Instagram. “He was taken with my flowers,” Haldeman said in a personal interview, referring to her ‘Terroni Series’ of black and white floral images. 

Following the London exhibit, called ‘The Art of 1,’ where she had to commit to not making copies of her works, she’ll be featured at a well-known gallery in Milan, Italy. Haldeman and her husband Barry hope to attend these exhibits, but it all depends on how the Ukraine situation develops.

In light of Ukraine, Haldeman is donating the proceeds from print sales of her Sunflower series to Ukraine—specifically to the ‘savethechildren.org Ukraine Crisis Relief.’ Anyone that donates $25 through PayPal to her cause will be mailed a 10×10 sunflower print on premium metallic paper as a ‘thank you.’ For details, see her Facebook page at facebook.com/maureenhaldemanphotography/ 

Why Sunflowers? Because the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, symbolizing strength, happiness, hope, and peace.

Haldeman was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Montreal. She didn’t start off in life wanting to be a photographer, but at a young age, someone gave her a Kodak “Brownie” camera, and she used it to take photos during a trip to New York City that people said were “really good.” She had a natural knack for it.

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As an adult, she worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am and enjoyed taking photos of the various destinations she landed in—still never thought of becoming a photographer. Finally, once she was married, a mom, living in Malibu, and no longer working as a flight attendant, Haldeman decided to take some courses to improve her photos.

She started off at SMC, then took fine arts photography classes at UCLA with Robert Heinecken, a nationally recognized photographer in his own right.

“He pushed me in a more artistic direction,” Haldeman said.

She began photographing her own table-top set-ups – like a still-life, but more abstract. Next, she began taking photographs at the school her daughter attended; and people started asking her to take family portraits. That was the birth of ‘MJH Photography.’

Haldeman developed her own photos in a darkroom in the early days but in later years switched to digital photography “kicking and screaming.”

The transition happened when she was hired to take photos of Swiss watches. “Watches are really difficult to photograph,” Haldeman explained, “and with a digital camera, I could take hundreds of photos if I wanted and not have to develop them. Now, I would never go back. I realized I didn’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud about changing.”

Although Haldeman had a thriving portrait business, she had a passion for more creative and artistic photography. Haldeman’s work was shown at various places around Malibu, and it was selling. She got her first important show at the G2 Gallery in Venice in 2011 with a series titled “Malibu Metallica.” Since then, she’s been featured in nearly 175 gallery shows all over Los Angeles, the United States, and the world, as well as many photography magazines.

Although showing artwork internationally sounds exciting, Haldeman says the logistics can be quite challenging. “Traveling with your work is very expensive, especially with big pieces,” she said. “The alternative is to roll up the photos, try to print and/or frame at the location, or only bring small pieces.”

Today, Haldeman sticks to Canon, Sony, and Lumex cameras, as well as her cell phone. “I shoot everything in color, then turn it into black and white.”

She enjoys putting some of her work through a silver gelatin printing process with special paper, which make the photos “look beautiful.” Haldeman’s “Liquid Light” series of photos was printed on metal or metallic paper, giving it a “very luminous” look, and she’s also experimented with camera solarization. “But I’m still not a Photoshop person,” she laughed.

Haldeman’s photographs are often used in film and television set design; and can be seen hanging on the living room walls of shows like “How I Met Your Father,” “The Mindy Project,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Boss” with Melissa McCarthy; and many others.

Haldeman tries to make her art fun and accessible to everyone and prints on everything from sneakers and t-shirts to mugs, journals, and books.

Looking at her body of work, you can see it was influenced by living next to the ocean for the past 30 plus years, as well as being influenced by architecture. 

Haldeman’s photographs are part of the City of Malibu’s public collection, the LA Public Library archives, and the Bieneke Library at Yale University; and served on the Malibu Arts Task Force.

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