Artist Interview: Stan Maupin

Posted by Jenni Kirby - November 02 2022


Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?

A. I had a SLR camera since college but never learned how to use it properly until recently. When Covid hit I had more time on my hands, so I started playing around with my camera to learn what all the options really meant. The more I learned, the more I realized there was even more to learn. Part of that learning was the recognition that a camera could do more than take a snapshot. It could create something that made people stop and appreciate things that they didn’t notice as they hurry through their day.


Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. When I first started concentrating on photography, I knew I wanted to do something a little different. First, I think of something that’s close to home that I would like to see myself but have seldom – or ever – seen – like the Milky Way or a hummingbird close up. When I try to capture a photo of it, usually leads me to having to find or build something to help with taking the shot. That often takes multiple tries until I get something that is worth showing to others. Their reaction helps me think of ways I might do it better, so I repeat the process. But of my best shots come almost by accident while working on something different, so a big part of my process is just putting myself in a position of opportunity. That has worked in my career as well as my photography.


Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. My initial inspiration to pursue photography came from my neighbor’s daughter who was, 11 years old at the time. Her mother asked her if she wanted to stay up late to watch a lunar eclipse, she said, ‘no I know Mr. Stan will take a picture of it for me.’ I am also inspired by the conversations that my photography stirs up. People look at one picture and ask me about another. That inspires me.


Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?

A. For me, it is the sky. It’s ever changing, and you can always create something new with it. You can always rely on the sky to be there – and to be different. My piece Boneyard Beach, which just won third place in The Washington Post’s 23rd Annual Travel Photography Contest, encapsulates what I love about the sky – change, movement, and depth. Five minutes after taking this shot, I turned the camera around to change a setting and the sky looked totally different. I took what I thought would be a test shot and happened to catch a meteor streaking across a sky that was glowing from the lights of a nearby town. There is almost always something to shoot when you look up.


Q. What are you working on now?

A. I have a new series in the works. I thought about how when I was a kid you could look up and see the Milky Way from anywhere, now you can hardly see a star in the city. I want to find a way to go back and see what people saw decades ago - how did the Milky Way look to them? Could they see the moons of Jupiter? I want to find a way to see what our ancestors saw long ago.


Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. You have always to be open and notice what is happening around you, so my motto is, “When it rains look for rainbows and when it’s dark look for stars”.