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Mary Ellen Matthews

Mary Ellen Matthews

Even devout watchers of Saturday Night Live may not recognize the name. Many of us can name our favorite sketches (Herlihey Boy/Matt Foley) and argue till we’re blue in the face about which era we prefer (Hartman/Sandler/Farley/Carvey/Meyers/Rock). Casts have come and gone in the 35 years since inception. However, there has always been one constant all these years. Still photography has been used as a way to promote the hosts and musical guests as well as serve as a cue to affiliates that the show is coming back from break. The idea behind the photos have always been to showcase the talent on the show and give you something interesting to look at. Enter Mary Ellen Matthews.


Mary Ellen Matthews

Mary Ellen has been the staff photographer of SNL for the last 17 years. Her job as staff photographer is to create the promotional photo’s for the show as well as create the aforementioned break photos used during every commercial break. She is recently being honored for her work in a show titled, “Live From New York: A Decade of Portraits,” which premiered May 10th at the John Varvatos store (formerly CBGB) at 315 Bowery. The focus of the show is the work she has done in the past decade of SNL. She has shot a wide array of guests from hip hop artists to the now legendary Betty White. The exhibit is displaying 37 framed pieces and there is a glass table top that showcases 18 more pieces collaged together.


Mary Ellen Matthews

Matthews photo’s find a way of bringing out the personalities of people she shoots. In some cases she allows them to present a side of themselves that is not often seen in their professional lives. Most of the images are comical in nature, but there is always an aura of trying to do something special. Take for example, a season where all the photo’s were based off of classic scenes from movie history, or this season’s Warhol inspired images.


Mary Ellen Matthews

If you happen to live in New York, we’d highly suggest stopping by and taking a look before it goes down on August 3rd. Unfortunately, the images are not for sale but the trip will be worth it regardless.  The Saturday Night Live photo gallery has all of her images in the ‘bumpers’ galleries. I think we can all agree that while not all shows are winners and in fact some of them are just unfunny sometimes, we can always look forward to Matthews giving us something interesting to look at while we wait for the next scene.


Category: Exhibitions, Photography, Spotlight 1 Comment »

One Response to “Mary Ellen Matthews”

  1. Great contribution! I always find myself drooling over the bumpers. It’s good to have a bit more context. :)

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