Mary Wagner


3831 S. 13th Street, Sheboygan WI 53081
(262) 573-7161 |

Joined: 0000-07-05

I’ve been a writer, a scribbler, a wordsmith, professionally for as long as I’ve been a grownup: first as a newspaper reporter, then as a magazine free-lancer, now as an essayist and author. And the thread that runs through that journey is the magic of stringing words together to make descriptive pictures in the imagination, to evoke feelings, summon passions, share thoughts, open avenues from one mind to another.

I fell in love with photography many years ago, the first time I went scurrying around the campus of my journalism college with a borrowed 35 millimeter SLR and a roll of black-and-white film and the assignment of telling a story in pictures. It was a craft, and an art, with a language all its own: apertures and F-stops and depth of field and exposure settings. I learned to “set up the shot” each time I picked up a camera. But words were still my only real artistic outlet.

That changed a few years ago, when I finally emerged from the technological wilderness and bought my first digital camera just before flying to Europe to visit my son. It didn’t take long to become enchanted with the ephemeral nature of the art form, a happy contrast with the torturous and occasionally agonizing process of wrestling with words and trying to get them right. With a camera, you’ve either got the shot or not and there’s no going back to fix it.

This second chance love affair with photography has been energized by other changes in my life that have me looking at the world with new eyes. I have a newfound appreciation for the beauty of nature around me. And I’m no stranger to the fragility of life after a serious riding accident a dozen years ago, more keenly aware of the passing beauty found in fragments of moments. A butterfly will not linger long on a flower beside me, nor will the raindrops on a field of wildflowers catch the light the same way as they toss in the wind. “We will not be in this day again,” I think, and if I have my camera along, I feel lucky to sometimes capture those beautiful instants.

I’ve combined both my love for words and photography in my award-winning collection of essays, “Heck on Heels,” which is available through both as a Kindle edition with color photos, and in paperback with full-page color photos.