Muriel Margaret may not be a name you're familiar with, but that is going to change. Muriel is a 21 year old photographer from Minnesota. From photo shoots with her friends to flying to Seattle with $7 in her bank account to join a tour, her work instills emotions in the viewer that they may not have even been aware they were able to feel. Muriel has found a love in concert photography. Her resume covers artists you may not have heard of like Lauren Sanderson and Donna Missal (who you should look up immediately after this article), to names in the industry like Billie Eilish, ASAP Rocky, Mac Miller, Tyler the Creator, SZA and more.
Not only is she a photographer, but she also has a beautiful ability to create with mixed mediums. Watching her ideas come to life is almost like watching an entirely new universe come to fruition. Muriel experiments with her scanner to create images beyond your wildest imaginations. Muriel has also started movements like #TakeMorePicsOfUrFriends, which was a social media campaign meant to get people out and to snap photos of the people they love. She has also released two photo-books: "I’ve Never Felt More 20 Than I Do Right Now" and "2018 Unseen." Nearly every week, Muriel releases a certain number of prints of her photos for her followers to be inspired by her daily with her work on the walls of their homes.
She can be found on tours like Lauren Sanderson's, and more recently, Donna Missal's. She'll be accompanying Donna on the This Time tour. The tour began on Valentine’s Day and is themed like your high school yearbook. If you choose to attend, expect to be photographed in your best prom attire.
However, she can also be found packing eighteen photoshoots into a week on her iconic photoshoot tours. You read that correctly: photoshoot tours. Because of her unique and beautiful view of creating and the way she looks at the world, I felt absolutely honored to be able to interview Muriel about her art and career.
How long have you been taking photos?
"I've been taking photos since I was in middle school! I remember when we used to write essays on what we wanted to do when we grew up, and I wrote, "I just want to work with a camera." But I've been taking photos professionally since I was a senior in high school."
What inspired you to start photography?
"When I was in elementary school, my family and I went on a camping trip over the Fourth of July. We were sitting on this dock, and the sunset was a dreamy pink and purple. I took a photo on my bright blue point, and shoot camera and I was convinced that this was the best photo ever. A week or so after that, I came home, and my dad had blown up that photo into a giant poster. Even though I was so young, and I was unsure then what the feeling of seeing that felt like, I know now that it had to have been the first time I saw the power of reliving a captured moment."
What drew you to concert photography?
"The summer before my senior year of high school I was offered an internship at my local newspaper, where I'd be helping around the office, and sometimes writing articles and taking photos for them. In the fall, the town put on a country concert called, Ramble Jam, and since I was working for the newspaper, I had my very first all-access pass. Running around from stage to stage capturing these moments, talking to people backstage about their stories, being able to actually go on the stage, (and not to mention the green room snacks), I was hooked from the start."
What is it like being a photographer on a musical tour?
"Being a photographer on tour feels like pure magic. There's a lot that goes into it that people don't even realize. To me, I see it as a giant (really cool) responsibility. That night, in that city, for that hour, you have this role to capture this atmosphere. What you capture, and how you capture it, is how it will be represented to the audience. It's like movie making… if I edit this scene to be more yellow and warm it may feel comfortable and happy; if I edit this scene more blue and cold, it may feel uncomfortable and lonely. A photographer has those same choices to make while shooting and editing photos on tour, and to me, that's pure magic."
What inspired the unique idea for the photoshoot tour?
"First off, the Photoshoot Tour is by far the coolest thing I've ever done, and there are definitely plans being made for another one this year. The photoshoot tour happened because, at the time, the artist I was working with didn't have another tour planned and no one was answering emails about having me on theirs, so I created my own. Also, I receive a lot of messages saying, "come to _____!" or "if you're ever in ____ I want you to take my photos!" So without knowing how the heck I was going to pull this thing off, I released tour dates on a flyer that I had made about five minutes prior to releasing them."
What has been your favorite part of the photoshoot tours?
"Easy. Seeing someone's confidence in front of a camera flourish within just one hour of a photoshoot."
What do you find inspiration in to conceptualize your shoots? Music? Movies?
"I find inspiration from observing everyone and everything around me. I try not to look at social media too much for the inspiration, because often times, I just find myself comparing one to the other. I like to go outside at golden hour and see the way the light falls onto different buildings, or sit at a local coffee shop and just observe the people and conversations around me."
When you feel uninspired or have a creative block, what motivates you to pick yourself back up?
"When I'm feeling uninspired, I'll go thrift shopping. There's not one time I go thrift shopping, and I haven't found an outfit that's inspired a whole shoot or inspired a whole new wardrobe. When I'm feeling uninspired, I just remind myself that this is necessary, and I use it as a reminder to get out of the office and into the real world. Being uninspired only means you're about to get very much inspired in a whole new way. Be open to it."
What's the biggest difference between your art now and when you started?
"Oh man, so much is different, but I think the biggest thing is my purpose within why I'm creating the art. In my early stages, I was creating just to create and to figure out what exactly it all meant and what I liked. Now I create because it's how I heal, and it's how I inspire. I create because I absolutely have to."
What is your biggest goal for 2019?
"To have more interviews! I'm usually the one asking others questions because honestly, I haven't figured out how to be comfortable talking about myself so much, but it's important to tell my story and to let people know that it's not always going to be easy."
If you could give advice to photographers of any sort, beginner or not, what would you say?
"Fall absolutely in love with it."
Muriel Margaret is revolutionizing the photography industry with every new idea she puts into the universe. She is truly an artist and to be able to watch her flourish is inspiring to me as a photographer, as well. Not only is her art inspiring, but Muriel as a person is as well. She is constantly expressing that you can achieve your goals, all they are waiting for is you to reach for them. She is the prime example of this, and is even tattooed with the words, "Buy the ticket, take the ride." Muriel's life would be completely different if she had never taken the jumps she has.
Send that email, take a risk. You never know what can grow from it.
Thank you so much to Muriel and her manager for allowing me to interview her and write this article.
Image credits: Muriel Margaret from her manager.