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Margaret Durow: Memories in Grains

A Parallel Planets piece by Julia Escano
I can almost feel the warmth of sunlight on my skin through the black and white film grains of Margaret Durow's photographs. Their softness feel like memories, with its edges about to fade or just about to resurface from the fog of my mind; their eternal summers evoking forgotten days, forgotten sensations of years past.


Margaret aims to freeze time in her photos. And not just the moments themselves, but the emotions, the thoughts, that run beneath their surface. Through overlapping images, she subtly conveys passage of time and trails of consciousness. She even shoots in analog to further capture the texture of nostalgia in film. Her photos are quiet and intimate, almost like they are vague snapshots from a person's mind. Looking at them is like seeing quick but lingering flashes of a person's reminiscences.

Perhaps growing up in rural southern Wisconsin along the banks of Rock Lake plays a big part in the twenty-five year-old photographer's aesthetic. Her photos are filled with water, which to her is central to life and is a big part of her own environment. With a degree in Biological Conservation and Environmental Studies, it is not surprising so much of nature is seen in her images. Shadows of leaves, weeds, trees, and water are major elements which create the subdued, nostalgic mood of her photos. For subjects, Margaret always uses herself, or close friends and family, which perfectly enhance their personal feel.

She has since self-published a collection of her monochromatic works in a book called Ephemeral Springs. The name is inspired by spring flowers which last for a season then fade away, much like moments, which fade and only stay in memories. The book is meant to capture the brevity of life, and also its eternal cycle.


Looking at Margaret Durow's photos is almost like stopping time and going back into my mind to my own faded reveries. They may be taken a continent away, but their soft light and blurred edges perfectly capture what memories look like, that her snapshots could almost replace mine. There is a lurking melancholy when looking at her works, but also an undeniable fondness.

For more of Margaret's works visit her Facebook page and Instagram account, where she constantly shares new works. She is also on Twitter, where she posts on more general topics.

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