Donna-Marie and Maruska Mason, aka The Masons, are a creative duo in every sense of the word. Working with photography and filmmaking, the couple, who are also a couple outside of work, bring their distinct backgrounds together to create a unique style and storytelling. The nature, the relationships, the range of human emotions and also the beauty of the various skin tones form the basis of all of Donna-Marie and Maruska’s work, leading to a portfolio that feels honest and raw, whether communicated. through fine art, advertising, editorial, portraiture or beauty photography.
Raised in Tooting, London, by a Jamaican mother and Guyanese father, Donna-Marie ended up at the London College of Fashion before pursuing a career in costume design for film and television. Although it started off surprisingly, she “started to feel dissatisfied in this creative space and it was difficult as a black costume designer to be taken seriously and to find work.” She also “wanted to have more control over my creativity,” which led her to turn her photography hobby into a full-time job. Maruska, meanwhile, is from Slovenia and studied law at university. Despite this, she “always felt a more authentic connection to creativity and self-expression,” and at one point it seemed silly for the duo – who have been in a relationship for 14 years – not to pursue their relationship. creative interests together. “We wanted to start telling our own stories in our own way and we also decided to partner with creativity and business,” says Maruska. “Our photography and directing work is a blend of two very different worlds that we come from, but with a very unified message and visual approach.”
The fact that Donna-Marie and Maruska share a vision is clear through their portfolio; their projects feel connected to each other and share multiple key themes. “We love projects that tell stories and also projects that challenge standards and champion unconventional beauty,” says Donna-Marie. This is especially true when it comes to representation within the photograph. “As a black woman,” she adds, “I like to create images of love – the love of the skin, the love of women, the love of men, the love of relationships between people. humans. Highlight the black skin, the beauty, the richness, the details. This focus on the skin is what creates the visual language and concepts of The Masons, which Maruska describes as “intimate, daring, some would say a little dramatic but yet simple and timeless”. Supporting Donna-Marie’s point of view, she agrees that “skin is key,” explaining how “it comes from our unabashed engagement with dark skin tones, but also all different skin tones. We love and celebrate the beauty of melanin – we consider it our responsibility to do justice and show the beauty of melanin and different skin tones. In turn, she emphasizes a “relaxed sensitivity” through their imagery that is important to them. This approach is what, it seems, makes their work so authentic – as if we see authentic moments and connections between couples, friends and family.