By Serena Domolky Howlett, Contributing Writer
REGION – “It was the M&M’s that brought us together,” quipped Maureen Mathieson, with obvious pleasure.
The year was 2000. Todd Mathieson was an attorney in Worcester, and Maureen was a chemist working in a pharmaceutical lab in Cambridge. Todd’s high school friend was Maureen’s co-worker. He invited them to a party at his house and lured them to the table with the tempting bowl of M&M’s.
Maureen laughed, “The rest is history.”
Still involved in the local photography community, the Mathieson’s are, indeed, well-traveled experts with intertwining stories of love, leadership and art.
Couple bonds at camera club meeting
When the couple met, Maureen was already an avid amateur photographer, serving as the president of the Assabet Valley Camera Club (AVCC).
“Maureen owned a classy single-lens reflex camera,” Todd recalled. “I had only a point-and-shoot camera. But I enjoyed taking pictures and wanted to learn more.”
So, Todd attended the AVCC meeting Maureen presided over.
“On my next trip,” said Todd, “I asked to borrow Maureen’s camera.”
Monarch butterflies introduce love of photography
Long before meeting Todd, at the age of three, Maureen discovered butterflies and, in turn, found her passion for photography.
“My parents bought me a butterfly net,” she recalled, “and helped me set up a space on our screened porch for the tiny butterfly eggs. I found the eggs among the milkweed in our garden.” This awareness of the way a butterfly develops became a lifelong hobby.
“When I was 10,” Maureen said, “My dad let me take pictures with his Polaroid camera. It was a thrill to photograph the butterflies at different stages. It made me want to keep taking pictures.”
Maureen Mathieson passes baton to Todd
One of Maureen’s activities as AVCC club president, back when she met Todd, was to recruit new members.
As she and Todd bonded, Maureen remembered one of her friends saying, “Mo, you don’t have to marry a man just to add a new member.”
When Maureen’s term expired in 2004, Todd became AVCC president for the next four years. Maureen was his vice president.
AVCC has continued to thrive and now boasts about fifty members at any one time.
Maureen became a science teacher in Marlborough
As she handed off control of the AVCC, Maureen also decided to leave the pharmaceutical industry and transition to teaching. She became a seventh-grade science teacher in Marlborough.
“It was an opportunity to inspire kids to be curious about the natural world,” she recalled.
Maureen also got involved in community theater, in part, because of her job.
“To be a good teacher,” she said, “it helps to be a good actor.”
Mathieson’s share tips with AVCC members
Recently, the Mathiesons have enjoyed entering some of their pictures in camera club contests and have also served as competition judges.
On February 3, 2021, they spoke at a virtual AVCC meeting. “The turnout was excellent,” Maureen reported.
The two explained how to submit images for club competitions and talked about what judges look for in those contexts.
“We emphasized that camera clubs evaluate art with ‘rules’ that don’t apply to fine art,” Maureen said.
The Mathiesons suggested some simple things people can do with design software to create an impact. “We call that the ‘wow! factor,’” Maureen said. “We were happy to have the opportunity to share what we know.”
The Assabet Valley Camera Club usually meets at the Hudson Senior Center. During COVID-19, though, meetings are taking place online. For more information visit www.assabetvalleycc.com.