The Aesthete: Mary McCartney talks personal taste

The photographer brings a palpable emotional charge to her portraits of luminaries of the art world, from Mark Rylance to Diana Krall

Mary McCartney at home in London
Mary McCartney at home in London | Image: Gabby Laurent

My personal style signifier is a gold necklace with various pendants, all from different jewellers. One is a gold letter M by Ben Day that my husband gave me; another is by Annoushka with an inscription of all my children’s names in their handwriting; and the third is a maple leaf charm by Annina Vogel that my eldest son Arthur gave me years ago.

McCartney’s Vampire’s Wife T-shirt
McCartney’s Vampire’s Wife T-shirt | Image: Gabby Laurent

The last thing I bought and loved was an iPhone case monogrammed with my initials. I’m a sucker for a monogram and this one is really eye-catching. I’m always dropping my phone, but so far it has proven to be quite hardwearing too. iPhone 8+ case, £185;


The thing I’m eyeing next is an iPad Pro so I can teach myself to edit moving images. I’m starting to experiment with long form, making short films to go alongside my photos and books. It’s amazing that you can make a movie on such a lightweight device rather than being stuck in a dark editing room, and the images are really crisp and clear. From £619;

One of her fridge magnets
One of her fridge magnets | Image: Gabby Laurent

An unforgettable place I have travelled to recently is Sussex. For the past year, I have been riding my horse Alejandro in the forests around Hastings and Battle. The relationship between rider and animal is the subject of my latest book, The White Horse. Normally, I focus on people; this is the first time I have photographed an animal and the landscape as a study.

Her vintage Leica camera
Her vintage Leica camera | Image: Gabby Laurent

The best souvenirs I’ve brought home are fridge magnets for my collection. I always pick one up on my travels, usually at the airport on my way home – most recently in Stockholm when I was there for the Mother Daughter exhibition of photos by me and my mother at Fotografiska gallery. 

Limited edition silk scarf
Limited edition silk scarf

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is the British artist Rose Wylie. I recently had the opportunity to spend the day with her at her studio in Kent. It was so inspiring. She is still curious and has a great sense of humour.

Lolita, Red Ankle Boots & Selfie by Rose Wylie
Lolita, Red Ankle Boots & Selfie by Rose Wylie | Image: Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, London © Rose Wylie

A recent “find” is Bryn Williams’ new restaurant at Somerset House. Bryn experiments with lots of veggie options – all things I wouldn’t cook at home – such as roast cauliflower with raisins, capers, polenta and salted grapes. Strand, London WC2 (020-7845 4646;

Roast cauliflower with salted grapes at Bryn Williams at Somerset House
Roast cauliflower with salted grapes at Bryn Williams at Somerset House

An object I would never part with is the vintage Leica my mum gave me when I told her – in my early 20s – I was going to be a photographer. I do shoot on it sometimes, along with a Leica SL. £4,995;


The best gift I’ve given recently was a limited edition silk scarf printed with one of my photos, from a collaboration with We are about to do our third capsule collection. The scarves are designed to be worn or framed, and as they are a kind of collectable art, each one comes with a signed certificate.

And the best one I’ve received is a Vampire’s Wife T-shirt. The label was founded by Susie Cave [wife of musician Nick Cave], who’s a friend of mine. I wear it all the time.

If I didn’t live in London, I would live in Manhattan. My mum was from New York so I spent a lot of time there. It’s easy to buzz around on the subway or on foot. I always call into B&H, a huge photo and video store, and go to Abracadabra to stock up on fancy-dress outfits. I also like abcV vegetarian restaurant and the clothing store New York Vintage. abcV, 38 East 19th Street, 10003 (+1212-475 5829; Abracadabra, 19 West 21st Street, 10010 (+1212-627 5194; B&H, 420 9th Avenue, 10001 (+1212-615 8820; New York Vintage, 117 West 25th Street, 10001 (+1212-647 1107;

My favourite apps are the one by Sonos that I use with Apple HomePod to fill my studio with music; a Thesaurus app, as I love looking at different words when I’m writing; and

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