"I'm running for County Court Judge in Tioga County, New York," Mari said, a confidant edge to her expression.
"That is incredible!" I said, knowing that Mari was going to be needing more than sterile headshots. "That makes these pictures kind of a big deal." Mari laughed. "Yes. And, I don't want to look younger than I am. I'm experienced. I've been a lawyer for 17 years."
For Mari, the total is nearly 20 years of legal experience.
And several of those Mari has spent as a judge, upholding law and balancing justice.
20 years practicing law.
20 years in a courtroom.
20 years serving her community.
Mari is more than I expected from a practiced, knowledgeable defender of the law. She's down to earth and funny with the gift of smiling easily. She an artist and her medium is color and shape in the form of the most beautiful quilts I've ever seen.
Mari is a Pandora's box.
But amid her artistic capabilities and infectious smile is an edge . . . something powerful that makes you stand a little taller when she looks at you.
Mari has a serious confidence that speaks to her years of sacrifice to get to where she is now. A woman who's accomplished what she has hasn't done it by laying around. There were early mornings, late nights, countless hours of research, and then executed practice in the real world.
Mari is the real deal.
Her edge is her work ethic and her determination.
"I just want to be the best I can be," Mari told me. "I've worked hard to be here."
You can feel it when Mari talks, her enthusiasm for justice and her desire to be the best she can be not just for herself but for her community.
Photographing Mari in her judges rob was an experience.
Mari moved with respect and honor, like she's remembering all the great ones she learned from, the great ones who came before her.
Mari speaks of her love of her community, her deep family roots, her connection to her peers, and her love of law and Country.
At the end of Mari's shoot, excitement and joy still filling the air, I looked at the back of my camera. "Ahh, look at you," I said. "These are the pictures of a woman who's gonna win."
Mari smiled as she nodded her head because she already knows.
"Oh yeah," she said. "I'm gonna win."
To follow more of Mari's campaign go visit her website- https://www.maritownsend.com .
If you're in Tioga County, NY take a moment to view Mari's background so that when you vote you're doing so with all the information.
Hair and Makeup Artist- Shea Hollister.
Photography Studio in Athens PA.
Serving Athens, Sayre Pennsylvania, Towanda Pennsylvania, Elmira New York, Corning New York, and Twin Tiers area.
If you have tips or concerns about human trafficking happening in your area call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.