Marion Carroll’s physician father had two hobbies: golf and photography. While her brother played golf, Carroll was allowed to help in the darkroom and beyond. Her favorite step was the rinse, which took place in an unused space in her home. “I’ve loved photography since I was a small child and saw faces come to life in that upstairs bathtub,” she said.
Carroll, a member of the Anderson Artists Guild, received her first camera at age 13. “My dad said, ‘You’ve got a good eye. Go take pictures.’ That turned me loose on the world,” she said. In the days when everything was manual, she also got an exposure meter and learned to estimate distance.
She attended college at Stetson University in Florida, intending to study English. But the credits she gained while studying abroad in Spain (where she also met her future husband)—combined with a lingering illness caused by a virus—caused her to complete her degree in Spanish. Her first job after earning her B.A. was as the woman’s page editor at a daily newspaper in Indiana; then she did some freelance writing while raising her family. She also worked in public relations at a New Orleans seminary for two years.
When her husband was named head of the music department at Anderson College, she signed on at AC for a year as a public relations feature writer, photographer, and editor of AC Today, the alumni magazine. She later served as a PR writer and photographer for the American Association of University Women (Anderson Branch and SC State AAUW), the Anderson Symphony Orchestra Association, the Civil Air Patrol (Anderson Squadron and SC Wing), and Boulevard Baptist Church. She also worked as a stringer for the Anderson Independent-Mail and The Greenville News and as a freelancer with Sandlapper Magazine. By the time she retired as a PR consultant in 2006, she was the proud grandmother of two and an exhibitor of photos in juried shows for 20 years. She joined Bay3 in 2007.
Her interest in photography deepened as she learned more about composition from a friend. “A lot of it is the way of seeing differently,” she said. “That’s the first thing I look for when taking a picture. I walk around it and look and see how the different angles look.”
Some of her best pictures were taken on vacation. She is particularly drawn to reflections in water, geometrical lines in nature and architecture, and the interplay between light and shadow. “The other day I was out taking ‘isolation’ pictures on the deck,” she said. “It was the time of day when shadows lengthen, what they call golden light.”
One notable shot was of tributes left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. For that one, she used a mask in Photoshop to keep one of the tributes in red while turning the rest of the picture to black and white. Another memorable photo was taken on a driving tour of the Southwest when she spotted a rusted Buick at a Western trading post. Another—on the same trip—was captured near a bridge immersed in shadow. “That won me the most money total,” she said.
She shoots with her iPad or one of two Canon DSLR’s. Though she has sold some of her work through juried shows and through the Bay 3 artisan gallery at the Anderson Arts Center, that’s never been a driving force. “I’m in it for the fun,” she said.