Interview with Margaret Durow

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Q: Hi, Margaret! Tell us something about your life and yourself. 
 
Hello! I'm 28 years old and from Wisconsin. 
 
 
Q: When and why did you start taking pictures? 
 
I started taking pictures when I was about 10 with a point and shoot film camera. I loved taking pictures of our pets. When I was a teenager I took my digital camera with me everywhere and photographed my friends. In high school I started posting on the photosharing website, Flickr, and became more interested in using photography to express myself. I wanted to remember the moments and feelings that were important to me, and be able to look back at changes over time.  
 
 
Q: Do you believe that every artist shows a part of his own personality and character in his photographs? What do you want to show in yours? 
 
 
I think art, including photography, can reflect the artist's perspective and perception of their subject. My main subject is myself. I use my camera to explore and capture parts of my inner and outer worlds. I create and share photos to remember my place and how I felt at the time.  
 
Q: The big question: Film or Digital? Why? 
 
Both! I love the aesthetic qualities of film and the slow process. I love the quickness of digital and being able to take a lot of photos without worrying about the cost.  
 
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects?

Nothing specific.  
 
 
Q: Looking through your pictures it feels like the observer is taking a walk with you, breathing fresh air sourranded by stunning natural landscapes. Where do you live and how does this influenced your work? 
 
I've spent my whole life living in Wisconsin. There is so much beauty in this place. I love being outside and thinking about the landscape on various scales of time and space. I try to explore and find features on the land that connect us to a larger story. I'm always seeking to better understand how my actions and lifestyle impact nature and all of the cycles and systems that I am a part of. 
 
Q:  What do you do in life? Have you ever thought about doing it for a living? 
 
I work 40 hours a week at research library.  I received my Masters in Library and Information Studies from UW Madison in 2016 and Bachelor's of Science in Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies in 2013. I am currently making my living and paying off my student loans as a library technician and hope to be a librarian someday. 
 

 Q: Among your works you can certainly notice a trend of self portraits, often nude shots. How would you describe your relationship with your body image?  
 
My relationship with my body is something I am always working on. I dealt with insecurities about my body image growing up, (as a teenage girl I was insecure about what my spine deformity looked like), but now I struggle more with my relationship to my physical body in how it functions, feels, and allows me to do the things I want to do without pain. My body requires a high level of self-care to manage my pain while working full time and maintaining a good quality of life. I have 14 fused vertebrae (T3-L4) and metal rods and hardware around my spine. The spinal fusion surgery was done to correct a severe 125 degree scoliosis curve. The surgery resulted in nerve damage and other complications that still cause me pain, physical limitations, and other symptoms. I am still learning how to care for my fused spine as I get older. I have to put in the work each day to manage my pain and build up my strength. Photography is a great emotional outlet. Being able to explore and strengthen my relationship with my body through self portraits has been a healing and transformative experience for me. Photography helps me create beauty and strength when I feel vulnerable or weak.    
 
Q: Suggest us a film and an album.  
 
Film - I haven't seen it yet, but I'm excited to see Guillermo Del Toro's the Shape of Water this weekend.  Album - One I always go back to: Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
 

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All images © Margaret Durow