Mary Beth Koeth's photographs capture Miami neighborhoods and residents from the eye of a seasoned native. Surreal lighting, minute details, and lots of locals all characterize her beautiful images. But the Dallas native only recently settled in Miami to pursue photography at Miami Ad School. And the most important thing she has learned so far? That her love affair with the city and its many, many men grows stronger each day.
After studying and working in various places around the world such as
Texas, Italy, Kansas, and England, Koeth found that she wanted to
document all her experiences with her camera.
"All I want to do is
shoot. Anywhere I go, my little camera goes with me. Shooting my
everyday environment and the people that bring it to life is a must,"
With Miami being one of her favorite cities to capture
because of its color and texture, Koeth notes her soft spot for places
such as Little Havana and Ocean Drive. The latter, according to Koeth,
due in part to it being a free "freak show." And while Koeth has seen
her fair share of faces and places, she thinks "it's something in the
coffee" that Miami residents stand out from any other city.
is attracted to working with film and developing it using dark room
procedures, but she also embraces digital photography noting that it is a
"beautiful thing" and its obvious advantages in the cost and production
Whether digital or film, Koeth's
results reveal an awareness to the importance of color and texture in
her environment. Her photographs often incorporate saturated, bright
colors but evoke and ethereal softness giving them the effect of a
"I have a sensitive eye for color, lighting, and composition.
If I see something that feels right, or even a color palette that I want
to remember, I shoot it," she explains. Whether photographs of Little
Havana cigar shops or steel car diners, Koeth's attention to detail
points to all that is sacred and strange in Miami's dreamy paradise.
most amusing project, "Miami Boyfriends," reveals the photographer's
fascination with men from all walks of life. "When I first moved to
Miami, one of the first things that I noticed was how overtly forward
the men are. It made me feel uncomfortable at first, but as time went on
I learned to embrace it," she explains.
Boyfriends," an ongoing project currently at 85 photographs, initially
began with a school assignment where Koeth found herself photographing
old men playing dominos in Little Havana. And old men just happen to be
one of Koeth's favorite subjects. She claims to "prefer them to babies."
But the photographer doesn't discriminate. Her "Miami Boyfriends" include
everyone from a bum on the beach to a restaurant chef.
recent addition to the Miami Boyfriends is a waiter from one of Miami
most Cuban establishments, Versailles Restaurant. Uninspired by how most
Cuban dishes were "lacking in color," Koeth set out to
portray just the opposite with her photograph of the waiter. Marked by
soft lighting, a complementary color palette, and a charming smile from
the subject, Koeth reveals her ability to turn a mundane instance into an
expressive one through drawing inspiration from everyday individuals.
states that she "loved the reaction from men," and has befriended many
of the men whose picture she has taken. One man that she is particularly
fond of is Sam, who Koeth shot on Miami Beach during a conversation
with the elderly man and his wife, Charlotte. The photograph, which
portrays a sweet moment between the couple, lead Koeth on a goose chase
around Miami Beach. Wanting to gift the couple with their printed
photograph, Koeth searched high and low for Sam, finally finding him
with the help of another couple.
for future plans, Koeth hopes to shoot new places and people such as
food trucks, Miss Miami Broward Carnival Pageant, and Calle Ocho
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
nightlife. And though Koeth doesn't have her work up in galleries yet,
at the end of her two year program she will organize her own gallery
exhibit. In the meantime, you can check out her photographs from her Etsy store.