INTERVIEWED BY AMY WOODROFFE
Margaret Durow is a Wisconsin-based photographer. When she’s not taking poetic, moving photographs, she studies Biological Conservation and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
THE LAB MAGAZINE—Although your images have an intimate and personal quality, the universal themes of love, time, and memory that are present are easy to relate to. Can you explain whether accessibility is a conscious goal or if you think it’s the natural result of honest storytelling?
MARGARET DUROW—I take photos so that I can look back at them later and remember how I felt. I’m not trying to create photos for other people, but I am trying to express to them how I feel, and make them feel something when they look at my photos. I think strangers have felt the same emotions I have, so I share my photographs with them online. I hope that when people look at my photos they understand that the feelings are personal to me – I want the image to make them feel what I felt, but also make them feel something personal for themselves.
TLM—Would you say your images directly document your feeling about each moment, or do you use the camera to intentionally manipulate these moments, creating and emphasising certain emotions?
MD—When I experience anything, I think about how it makes me feel and want to remember that feeling. I look around and see that the visuals, the light, the colors, etc., express emotion. When I’m taking photos, I have to make a choice about which emotions to remember and which visuals I will use to create a photograph that represent them. I want to create beautiful poetic images that don’t just capture or mimic reality, but that show my feelings and create a new feeling for the viewer.
TLM—Some of your images capture what seems to be pain and sadness. How does it make you feel to record such moments and is there an element of catharsis?
MD—I take photos to remind me how I felt even if the feeling isn’t good, because I still find beauty and poetry in pain and sadness. Photographing not only happy emotions shows me that there are always ups and downs, and sometimes the best way to get through bad times is to accept how you feel, allow yourself to feel and express it, and create something new out of it – a way to look at it more objectively and move on.
Find the complete interview here.