Mariah Karson

Modern David

“Modern David” Mariah Karson, 2015

Modern David

Photography Call for Participation

Mariah Karson’s Modern David is growing collection of photographs of people named David. It is an organically expanding collection that explores whether there is a common thread, aesthetically or otherwise, among the participants other than name.

While modern media skews the perception of reality and beauty, Modern David celebrates real individuals in a static and straightforward way, each photographed the same manner and with normal identity cues removed. Historical ideals and individual perception of the viewer are challenged by the series, which forms a representation of modern individuals and real beauty.

The portrait session of the self-selected subjects acts as a forced self-experience, an opportunity to find calm and comfort in discomfort, an experience of the present and static documentation of their current self. The participants exhibit willingness to display oneself and potentially be judged with lack of control of outcome of the project.

During her time as a Sponsored Artist at High Concept Labs, Mariah Karson will continue photographing new subjects, expanding her audience, and encouraging people named David of various ethnicities and ages to participate. Karson will also work to print and frame 100 life size Modern Davids, develop a book for the project, and seek out institutional venues for an exhibition.

Artist Bio

Mariah Karson, 2015Mariah Karson (b. 1979) is a Chicago based artist and freelance photographer. She studied photography and printmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997-2000) and her work has been published internationally. Specializing in editorial photography, event photography, and studio portraiture, Karson strives to capture honesty and clarity in order to provide her clients memorable images that tell compelling stories.

In May 2016 Karson will be exhibiting a selection of images from Modern David in Masculinity, a group show curated by Exhibition Projects (Chicago) at Freeport Art Museum, Freeport, IL. In April 2017 she is scheduled to have a solo exhibition of her project American Legion at Firecat Projects, Chicago. Recent group exhibitions include Midwest Contemporary at LillStreet Art Center, Chicago, UNBOUND3! at Candela Gallery, Richmond, VA, and Help Us Help You Help Us at Firecat Projects, Chicago.

Karson was shortlisted for the 2015 Lucie Foundation’s A Photo Made Scholarship, named one of the photographers for Best of ASMP 2015, and is currently working with High Concept Labs (Chicago) as a 2016 Sponsored Artist. She has been a member of ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) since 2013, currently serving on the Board of Directors and as acting Treasurer for the Chicago/ Midwest Chapter. As a Chair of the Chapter’s Fine Arts Committee, Mariah organizes and executes events and exhibition opportunities for member photographers in the Midwest region.


Mariah Karson’s website
Mariah Karson on Instagram
Mariah Karson’s tumblr
Modern David project website