PHOTOGRAPHER MARGARET MUZA
Margaret Muza is an artist who primarily works in wet plate photography. During Wisconsin’s “Stay at Home” orders Margaret began a project to take outdoor photographs of Milwaukee residents. Over that time she photographed over 200 individuals and families while they quarantined at home. In 2017 she was the Pfister Hotel artist and residence and currently serves on the board of the “Home of the Brave” artist residency located in Cisco, UT.
What are you most proud of? "I’m most proud of my gut instincts when it comes to really big decisions. I can count on two hands how many times I’ve had to make them, but when it comes to the most important things, like big career changes, or big moves, I usually have a clear vision as to what I need to do, and all of those have led me to the best choices of my life."
Is there something new that you've started doing over the past months, during quarantine? "Since the beginning of Covid, going to my gym has not been an option, I started taking a long walk every day in the super early morning, no matter how cold it would get. I don’t live far from Grant park, so I take a loop that takes me along the cliffs above the beach there, through the woods and back. I’ll keep doing it no matter how long the pandemic lasts. That place is really special, and it’s made me fall in love with this neighborhood I recently moved to."
Is there something you’ve stopped doing/caring about in this time? "I stopped putting my mental health on the back burner, and started being more honest about what I need in order to feel at peace. Before 2020, I kind of used to laugh at the idea of self care, but this year has humbled me and I stopped dismissing those really important things."
What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up? The first thing I think about when I wake up is getting coffee going and then it’s all the stuff I have to do that day unfortunately. I wish I could say I was more zen than that, but I’m not. So it’s usually coffee, the news, and work, in that order :)
What is your favorite thing/place in Milwaukee? "I love Milwaukee so much, because it has always been home for me, and there’s a great deal of love, support, and kindness to go around here. As a small business owner, I feel so lucky to be here and experience that from my community. It’s also important to mention that my experience here is possible because of my privilege as a white person, and that life would be very different if I was born black in one of the most segregated cities in the country. We have a lot of work to do, but I think/hope a lot of people here are willing to do it."
Who do you think needs advice and what would you like to tell them? I think the older population in this country needs to listen and learn from young leaders, so this is advice I’d like to give to my older self. I hope that when I’m older, I never presume to know it all, and fight the urge to say I know better. I hope not to judge young people for the unfamiliar ideas they may bring to the table. I think it would be a gift to be an old lady one day and learning from the youngest generations, since I think the best time to be alive is likely sometime in the future."
View Margaret's work at www.margaretmuza.com