Photographer chooses north woods as backdrop

Photographer Joel Maxwell has purchased Mac Bailey's studio on Main, its "good reputation" prompting just a minor name change - Max Bailey Photography.

Photographer Joel Maxwell has purchased Mac Bailey's studio on Main, its "good reputation" prompting just a minor name change - Max Bailey Photography.

Maxwell brings years of photography experience to his new role. He is moving from the Brainerd area, where he established a studio.

Prior to this, he worked for a Kodak subsidiary in Kansas, developing software for studios, offering verbal support to studio operators on request.

Young children are his favorite subjects, capturing their charm, energy and curiosity on camera. When a little one enters his studio, he works to develop a trust, a relationship.

Maxwell also works with high school students to create a portrait that speaks to their hobbies and personalities.


"I like the variety photography has to offer," he said of his profession, "especially here with so many scenic backgrounds."

His specialty is photography on location - "woods, lakes, sunrises and sunsets."

"People come here (northern Minnesota) to be in one of the best parts of the whole country," he said of outdoor photo shoots. "And it's something to remember when it's 20 below.

"Photography is something I truly enjoy," he said. Unlike a "Wal-Mart photo," Maxwell incorporates lifestyles and personalities in his work. "I capture the essence of who they are," he said.

Weddings - the recording of a milestone event - are also among his favorites. He takes a photograph every 30 seconds over a four- to five-hour timeframe, knowing the images will be viewed for years to come, "the bride the prettiest she is ever going to be."

The studio's tradition of family portraiture will also continue. "But in their environment," Maxwell stressed, "not sitting in suits and ties, looking uncomfortable. That's a thing of the past for me."

Maxwell is a proponent of digital photography. "It gives so many more options, artwork never possible with film," he said. Photo enlargement, for example, can be completed without loss of clarity.

Digital photographs, he said, have now surpassed film in quality.


"Part of the challenge of digital is keeping up with the technology," he said.

Maxwell recently returned from a photography seminar in Iowa, the workshop addressing digital art and background and lighting techniques. He intends to dedicate two weeks a year to updating his techniques.

He welcomes clients to stop by for a consultation, at no cost or obligation. "That way we can create what they're looking for."

Digital restoration of old photographs, including damaged ones, is also available.

Maxwell had looked at several studios throughout Minnesota before making his decision to purchase the studio at 309 Main Ave. So.

"This is a solid, stable community," he said. "And it's thriving."

Maxwell may be reached at 732-7979. It's best to call ahead; he's often "on location."

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