“Maureen is simply the best, she’s so genuine and positive. It’s such a pleasure to spend a couple hours taking family photos, and even more exciting to see the beautiful moments she’s able to capture. We have a tradition of doing family photos every year, which started with our engagement shoot. We can’t wait for our next session when our girls are 3 years old.” —Tal A., Tel Aviv, Israel
Hi, I’m Maureen Cotton!
Thank you for your curiosity—I hope we get to meet in person soon.
As an artist, Kripalu yoga teacher, and interfaith chaplain, I ground all my work in openhearted living. My portraits are no exception.
I am always told that my passion is contagious and makes being photographed not only easy, but fun and rewarding. Because I sink into a couple hours of family time, many parents say that “the photo shoot” felt like a relative coming over to play! Each family gets a full-service custom experience, which means I can only offer a limited number of portrait sessions each month.
In addition to photographing families, I am a Boston wedding photographer, and interfaith reverend who officiates weddings and baby blessings. I live with my wife and son in Beverly, Massachusetts, where we fall in love with the beauty of New England anew in every season.
I believe family photographs are the most important tangible things in our lives. No other object can transport us through time or contain a soul.
But, today, photographs are rarely objects anymore. Many young children will not have photos of their childhood when they grow up, let alone heirlooms that they can pass on to their children. Looking back on family photographs helps us make sense of our life journeys, and living with tangible family images in the home gives kids a sense of belonging that boosts their self-esteem. With all the amazing things the digital revolution has brought us, we as a culture are backsliding in this key area of preserving memories. It takes a lot of work to paddle against the tide, and that’s where I come in.
I am committed to making family photography a tangible joy and heirloom again. With every photo shoot, I am challenged to create photographs that deserve a place of honor in your home, heart, and legacy. Photographs that are intimate and meaningful—portraits of your inner life.
My own philosophy was put to the test in 2017 when our son was born 3 months premature. It was a struggle to force myself to photograph while just surviving this difficult time, but I did and gave my family the precious gift I create for others. I wrote about the experience hoping it could bring hope to others, and it has been shared thousands of time.
My first photographic exploration of the inner life was a photo documentary of the Little Brothers of Saint Francis. These denim-clad Catholic monks were my neighbors in Mission Hill while I was a senior at Emerson College. They agreed to be the subject of my semester-long project, which I once had dreams of expanding into a feature-length still-image film. Back then I developed film in my bathtub (awkward with roommates!) and recorded interviews on a MiniDisc recorder. My process led to the completion of a short version of the film.
As a college student, I was baffled by religion, yet sincere curiosity and an open heart led to deep friendships with the brothers, which lasted even after their community disbanded years ago. In 2015, when the founder of the community was on hospice care, I made portraits during my last visit. By invitation of another brother, I photographed his funeral.
Medicine for the modern world
A study done with fourth graders, who were surrounded by photos of themselves over a five week period, showed increased self-esteem by the end of the study. Having family photos on display in your home is good for kids today—it creates a sense of belonging amidst all the chaos.
A sense of belonging is soul medicine in the modern world.
In short: Inner Life Portraits is the best gift I know how to give.
Speaking of gifts…
I volunteer with the Magic Hour foundation, which provides free family and portrait sessions for adults and kids dealing with cancer. It’s an honor to create this healing gift.