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20th Anniversary Issue: Maggie Meiners

As part of F-Stop Magazine’s 20th anniversary celebration we invited past featured photographers to share with us some thoughts and reflections. We asked each photographer to consider how their photographic work has changed over time, how the changes in photography over the past 20 years may have affected or influenced that change, and to share what they are up to most recently.

By Maggie Meiners

On Photography

My relationship to photography has changed over time and can be best described as complicated. I will forever be grateful for the accessibility photography provided me. Not only as a photographer but as a viewer as well. The accessibility of photography as a fine art medium should also be lauded, as straight images can often be relatable and understood. However, with the ever changing technology and ubiquity of images in the world have made the role of photographs and photography has become more complex.

I picked up a camera intentionally in my mid-20’s, as mentioned, it was an accessible medium for me, and I had no previous experience in the arts, so felt like the least intimidating avenue in which to pursue my self-expression. it was barely the dawn of the digital era so analogue photography and darkrooms were readily available to me at the time. Shortly thereafter, the world of digital photography descended upon us and I slowly adapted with the times. Technique, equipment and technology aside– as the world of images became more and more tangible and pervasive, so did my relationship to images.

Silks, 2001

Anonymous, 2001

Bon Appetit, 2007

Goddamn Sherpa, 2007

Simply documenting the world around me with a camera no longer satisfied me. It was too straightforward, and life was becoming more complex, as was my relationship to the world and photography itself. At this time, I began to ponder my hesitancy to photograph, my resistance to being called a photographer and all the baggage that came along with it. I turned inward, to deconstructing my life; analyzing and contextualizing, and recognized with the results of this process, I was feeling limited by the camera alone. As I yearned to express my findings further, I felt that photographs in general fell flat for me. I needed more for myself and needed to distance my mode of expression from the plethora of images that was saturating my world.

Textiles, video, 3D printing and assemblage would find their way into my studio as part of my practice but the foundation of my research and medium remains in images, my own, as well as fond images and those that are readily available to all via stock sites, etc.

Garden of the Gods, 2023

Palms, 2022

Cosmetic names, risograph, 2021

3D printed busts, projection, 2020

3D printed busts, 2020

As of late, I have thought about incorporating the camera back into my practice but have still found them to be heavy and cumbersome, both physically and emotionally. I also find myself thinking a lot about the history of photography in a social and political context– the photograph as a truth teller. In this century alone we have seen the evolution of technology and its relation to media and reporting, often leading to questions about truth. And now, with the dawn of a new era using AI, my relationship becomes more conflicted and more complex.

I do believe there is a space for all of it, it’s just a matter of where I want to apply my personal energy. So for now, I am lying in the comfort of relating to the images that I come upon to make sense of the world. All in all, photography gave me the foundation for my practice today and my muses will always remain within the world of photographs – light + color.

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