2021 Grad Show

Hannah Mahan

AUArts Grad Show Portrait of Me



People know me as someone who has never followed the crowd. They know me as the passionate one. The one who puts her heart into everything she does. The one who wants to understand people and see true emotion. Photography captures a moment in time, a feeling, a memory. Photographs have the ability to bring us back to that moment and remind us what it felt like to be there. I’m a local Calgary, AB photographer who captures raw, real emotions and connections between people and their loved ones. I’m inspired by natural landscapes which are reflected in my work and editing style -- bright, light and warm are 3 words that I use to describe my own work. I’ve created a cohesive colour scheme for myself by sticking to browns, neutrals and golden tones. Not only am I most drawn to these colours aesthetically, but I also believe that they bring out the warmth, light and spirit within my subjects. More than anything photography is a tool that I can use to be myself, create connections, make others happy and tell people's stories. As a photographer, my philosophy is that life is too short to not have fun and do what makes us happy. I love to joke around, get to know my clients and make people laugh! Working with me is an experience where I capture intimate connections while also building a personal relationship.

Eyes are the Window to the Soul

Everybody that joins the photography program at AUArts knows that in fourth year you will do a project based on your interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's “The Raven”. This project has been issued by photography/photoshop instructor Cathy Simone for years. This image is a representation of how I interpreted “The Raven” -- I believe that the Raven is the narrator's lost lover Lenore. For this assignment, I wanted to create a classic Victorian portrait of Lenore since the poem was written in 1845. I imagine that this portrait would have hung up in the narrator's chamber while he slowly lost his mind. But if he looked close enough, he would have seen that Lenore was always the raven.

How Can I?

“How Can I?” is an image I created for an album cover assignment based on John Lennon’s, How? For this assignment, we were allowed to pick any song that we wanted to represent through images. I chose How? By John Lennon because I felt deeply connected to the lyrics at the time of this project. Graduation was approaching which was daunting, I was questioning my business, and overall I felt very confused. Ultimately, this image represents John Lennon’s song How? as well as how I was personally feeling at the time.


Over the past 4 year at AUArts, I have done a lot of experimentation with different types of photography. Only in the past year or so have I come to realize what's most important to me is working with people and building connections with my clients. I’m a very outgoing, friendly person and I’ve fallen in love with lifestyle photography because I get to work closely with others while creating beautiful imagery that I know they will cherish for a lifetime.


“Lost” is an image that came out of an experimental portrait session on a whim. My model began crying because the wind was so strong that day, but we rolled with it and ended up creating one of my favourite images during my time at AUArts. It’s simplistic and emotional, which I believe is a reflection of all of my work. When you look at it, you can’t help but feel something -- I enjoy how the viewer can interpret it the way that they see it.


During my final semester at AUArts, I spent a lot of time experimenting with motion. I wanted to bring even more emotion and feeling into my images by slowing down my shutter speed. By doing this, I would be able to learn and become comfortable with this technique and therefore be able to tastefully use it in everyday sessions -- such as for a couple or family.

This site may contain artworks with provocative content that some viewers may find uncomfortable or upsetting. AUArts supports a culture of non-censorship and ongoing conversations about contemporary art.