Mary Gardella Photography » Empowering Women Through Portraiture


“If you do not tell the truth about yourself
you cannot tell it about other people.”
~ Virginia Woolf ~


I empower women through portraiture in their professional and personal lives.  I provide the open space for them to be their real, raw selves in front of the camera. I’m the one behind the camera on the journey with them.

My Story

The short version

Total independent from birth. Always had to be first in line & was super curious about everything.  Summer days at the pool eating jello packets before the meets & laying on the concrete to keep warm. Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay with my parents & their friends.  The smell of homemade Italian breaded chicken, pasta sauce & fried dough in my grandmother’s kitchen. Divorce. The naughty teens with my amazing friends who I love and adore to this day. Pentax SRT101 35mm camera bought. The Towerlight newspaper at TU: my version of a sorority.  Pantysuits, Catfish Jones & all around craziness with my roommate Leslie post college. One of six staff photographers hired to create a new photo department. Marriage. Mother. Entrepreneur. Constant maker of pretty pictures.

A little insight

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been drawn to photographs. When I would visit my grandma, my favorite thing, besides eating her amazing Italian food, was to go attic- and basement-diving for relics. My family history and the objects I would find fascinated me, especially when it came to spending hours pouring over vintage photographs of my ancestors. Those relics are now all over my house.

When I was in college, my subconscious must have been whispering in my ear when I signed up for that photography course. The second I picked up a camera, I was hooked. I was terrible, mind you. My first official portrait was taken of a giraffe at the zoo. I was SO PROUD! I had found my path and direction. And I’ve never looked back.

Like a path that curves and slopes, narrows and widens, my 30 year image journey has helped shape me into the person I am today. From photo essays about heroin addiction to capturing the Pope’s visit to the US as a newspaper photojournalist helped me gain a deep understanding of the human condition, it’s frailty & strength.  Family & Wedding life photography gave me a better perspective on the moments that make up the history of human life – all the little things we take for granted & the momentous occasions that bring family & friends together.  Now I’m focused on creating empowerment portraiture for women.

Every single image I make is a gift from my soul to yours. A little piece of myself is given to you. Earning your trust and having a connection that breaks down the barriers to the real, raw truth of who you are is the greatest gift I have ever received. I’m grateful for it every single day. It is what energizes me and allows the beautiful creativity to flow. The result is a story-telling image of you at your truest self. THIS is true human art.

I’m really looking forward to meeting you and finding out how to show you off to the world – you and your real, raw truth.


STUDIO 5 :: Clipper Mill

Mary Gardella Photography is housed in a gorgeous & spacious natural light studio at the Historic Clipper Mill facility in Baltimore.