Live Music, The Closest Thing to Magic. An Interview with Photographer Muriel Margaret
First off, I just want to express how excited I was when this interview was confirmed. Muriel Margaret has been one of my personal inspirations for a long time now, and knowing that I would be able to share this wonderful human's achievements with all of our readers truly brought me so much happiness.
I feel like most of us spend our whole lives chasing after this desirable state of being - one stitched together with freedom and adventure - a sense of youth we only seem to watch in movies or read about in books. When I first came across Muriel’s work I was sixteen and thought I’d never know what true freedom felt like. I had dreams about traveling from concert to concert, film photos like breadcrumbs mapping out my path, each city inspiring new art from a place inside myself I hadn’t yet found.
Around the same time I came across this podcast, a speech about the future. This man talked about how we live in a series of echo chambers, only knowing what’s been done before and repeated back to us. That’s where this idea of “practicality” comes from. We’re born thinking that there’s already a set list of what we can and cannot achieve, what versions of our future remain daydreams, and what actually become reality.
And this is where Muriel comes in.
It’s people like her that show us there’s more than what we’ve been told, the future is just about as limitless as you perceive it to be. Every time I scroll through Instagram, she opens my ideas about the world just a little bit more. It’s people like her that encourage more people like us, hopefulls with big dreams and no clue where to begin.
Well here it is, your starting line.
Because Muriel said it best, “fall the fuck in love with what you’re doing and there’s no way people won’t pick up on the magic.”
-First off, can you introduce yourself, and tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Of course! Hello readers, I’m Muriel Margaret and I’m a 21 year old photographer based in the Midwest, but will travel just about anywhere to get the photographs I daydream about. I currently have shoulder length dark brown hair that’s always in a middle part pulled back into a clip or scrunchie. I have eight tattoos and one of those includes the words, “buy the ticket, take the ride” on the front of my arms and that right there basically describes my whole life. Oh! Also wanted to take this time to say thank you to Pure Nowhere for interviewing me!
-Other than concert photography, what are your favorite things to shoot?
I really like to shoot just about anything. I love bringing around a point and shoot film camera with me everywhere I go, because you just never know when you could be a part of a movie moment. I really like to walk around whatever city I’m in and approach people I see because “your outfit is so stunning” or because “you have the cutest freckles”. Real moments are my favorite things to photograph, and I find film captures this best.
-I listened to your podcast with Juice and that story with Donna Missal sounds insane! How did you feel when you took that risk of not knowing whether you were going on tour / dropping everything then and there and buying a ticket to Seattle?
Thank you for listening! Shoutout Juice, he’s the Minneapolis homie! Honestly, when I bought that ticket not knowing what would happen, (and only having $7 in my bank account), it felt like the most right thing to do in the world. My gut feeling was screaming at me, and whenever I listen, magic happens.
-Who would you like to go on tour with next?
Okay here’s my thing, some labels/artists don’t know the importance of bringing on a tour photographer. There’s a number of artists I could name that don’t bring one along, and a number of labels that simply don’t think about including a budget for one. That’s high quality show content that you’re missing out on having every single night to promote your tour and yourself. I know venues and radios have photographers in the pit to shoot, but having someone who can capture the in between moments of tour, is the key. If you let your audience into those random moments at gas station stops, in hotel hallways, and in the greenroom, you got them hooked. So to answer your question, I’ll go on tour with anyone who’s smart enough to hire one.
-Your photographs are so unique to yourself; I love the scrapbook-type photographs on your website. How did you develop your own photography style? And what tips do you have for photographers trying to find their own?
Thank you, I appreciate that! It took a lot of failing over and over again to find what feels the most me. I guess something I do a lot while shooting is, really truly taking my time. Taking a moment to look around and think, “how can I shoot this differently, what haven’t I seen before?”. My biggest tips for photographers trying to find their own style is to logout of Instagram, go grab your camera, and try a bunch of weird shit with your friends.
-I love the concept of the photoshoot tour and how the message is to allow everyday people to be confident in stepping in front of the camera. I think there is a lot of under-representation of everyday people in the media and you really brought that point home in the photoshoot tour. Do you have any plans for another tour?
Thank you! I can 100% agree with that, and that’s why I loved creating The Photoshoot Tour so much. Seeing someone’s confidence soar within an hour of a photoshoot is the most rewarding feeling ever. Everyone deserves to know and feel that they are just as beautiful and valid as the people they see on magazines. I definitely am going on another one! I’ve been planning a lot behind the scenes because I really want this one to be the biggest one yet, like, on Ellen and shit.
-How did you get into photography? Do you remember taking your first photograph? What was your first gig?
Growing up I would always take our families VHS camcorder and pretend I had my own weather channel, eventually, that grew into taking photos on my first bright blue point and shoot camera. I’m not sure what my very first photograph was, but I do remember I took a photo that I thought was the greatest photo to ever exist of this purple and pink sunset. My dad surprised me and blew it up into a huge print for my room. That’s when the passion really took off. As far as my first gig, it was an internship at my local newspaper shooting and writing! Which lead me to my shoot my first concert, and the rest is history.
(Kyla here butting in with the last few questions, you know I had to!) -I remember you once saying that live music is the closest thing to magic, could you elaborate a bit on that? How would you describe the sensation for someone that’s never been to a show before? How do you hope that’s reflected in your images?
Oh shit, this is my favorite question I’ve ever been asked. From the tour photographer's perspective, getting to be around the artist before the show, during the show, and after the show, I see and feel how much energy and passion is given to the audience. The artist could be having an off day, but on that stage, they are completely and fully themselves. The audience, who could have also had an off day, are now fully themselves: dancing, singing, immersed in this world. Even when the show ends and everybody goes home, for that moment, we were in each others’ space and I believe there is magic in that. I think simply because I feel this deeply about a live show, my images can’t help but reflect this.
-I feel like every time I check my Instagram feed you’re out doing something new, creating something no one’s ever seen before. Do you know what your future looks like? Or are you just following your heart in the moment right now? What would be your dream future, where do you see yourself five years from now?
I appreciate you saying that! As far as my future, I absolutely have no idea what that looks like. Of course I have a never-ending to do list, but day to day, I truly just follow my gut and work really, really hard. My dream future would be to continue to grow within my art and reach even more people to inspire. Oh, and I really want to shoot the cover of Vogue before I turn 23. (The talented Tyler Mitchell was the youngest to do it and he was 23.)
-You never cease to inspire me, what single piece of advice would you give to an artist and creator reading this?
Thank you! The fact that others are inspired by what I’m doing fuels my inspiration all over again. If I had to give one single piece of advice to an artist reading this, it would be this simple: fall the fuck in love with what you’re doing and there’s no way people won’t pick up on the magic.
Huge thank you to Muriel for taking the time to answer some of our questions, and inspiring us always.
Muriel is currently on tour with Donna Missal, catch her in your city at these tour dates.
Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, we will support you to the ends of the earth. It’s role models like you that keep the youth inspired, that show us another way to live our lives, without regrets or apologies. I hope one day to be as full of adventure and art as you, Muriel.
Pure Nowhere xx