Mary Lyon Taylor first moved to Indianapolis in 1898 when she married Edward A. Taylor, a local businessman. She settled into the typical life of an upper middle-class Victorian woman until 1906 when the family fell on hard financial times and she was forced to consider how she could contribute to her family’s livelihood.
Already a talented artist and painter, Mary decided to pursue photography as a means to enrich the family’s income. She became interested in a technique known as pictorialist photography, which uses soft focus and the contrast between light and shadow to create painting-like images. Over the next decade she created portraits of some of Indianapolis’s most prominent citizens, capturing the quiet, peaceful side of domestic life and the intimacy between mother and child.
By the 1920’s the Taylor’s financial situation had improved, and until her death in 1956, Mary took few photographs. Instead she expressed her creative side through needlework, writing, and music composition.