Creativity Magazine

Margot Kenny–Shooting from the Heart

Posted on the 09 February 2013 by Art Of Mob @artofmob

Margot KennyTake a virtual walk with me through the gallery of @_7willows_ on Instagram and you’ll see warm colors and soft textures.  You may get the feeling you’re in a museum  adorned with timeless Renaissance paintings. 

Below is my conversation with this wonderful mobile photographer.

Geri:  What is your name and where do you live? 

Margot:  Margot Kenny.  I live in Dublin, Ireland.

Geri:  How long have you been creating mobile art? 

Margot:  I got an IPhone a year ago and joined Instagram in January 2012, so I’ve been making pictures with my phone since then, but mostly since June 2012.

(Photo captions from Margot’s Instagram gallery)

© Margot Kenny

[whenachildisborn} (above)

© Margot Kenny

{greengrowtheleaves{ don’t bring it inside (above)

© Margot Kenny

Lily (above)

Geri:  Do you have an art or traditional photography background?

Margot:  Yes, I studied Fine Art in college and specialized in photography. I graduated in 1999, so at that time it was still all about film, not digital. I used a 35mm and a medium format camera and my preference was to set up composed studio shots whereas now, I just take whatever I see as I am walking around in daily life.

Geri:  Who or what inspires you?

Margot:  Oh, everything inspires me! There are many photographers and artists whose work I love but probably I get most of my inspiration from ordinary life as I feel it in the moment. I have two worlds I never get tired of looking at – one is the coast where I live and the same beach and hillside that appear in many of my photographs, the other is the street and people I see there, in whatever city I happen to be in. I’m inspired by the color of the sky, or whatever drama is happening that day in my life, or by a stranger passing by with an expression on their face that makes me wonder. Today I was watching a YouTube clip of the American photographer Joel Meyerowitz talking about his early days in street photography with his friend, he said they were like ‘fishermen in the stream of Fifth Avenue’ and that inspired me, I got what he meant by that.

© Margot Kenny

[Resolution] (above)

© Margot Kenny

[nowletthethornsopenus] (above)

© Margot Kenny

Remember the scar we drew, to thicken my skin for you?  I washed it off today…(above)

Geri:  Do you plan your shoots or do you create your work out of random shots that you take as you encounter your daily life?

Margot:  I never plan but I am driven very much by emotion. This was a challenging year for me, so I often found that going for a long walk with my phone was a great way to forget about everything and just get in the flow of life. I know when I look at my pictures later, that they have come out of specific events or experiences in my life, but at the time I am making them it is all unconscious. I feel like I am out searching for meaning, I am searching for answers to the problems of life and somehow the answers come as pictures and magnetize themselves to my IPhone, it’s a mystery to me how! I’m wide open to whatever comes my way. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all? Taking photographs is a way of connecting to the world and connecting the world to me, that is what I am doing.

Geri:  You work in color and black and white - do you have a preference?  If so, why?

Margot:  I prefer color, but sometimes go to black and white for a more stark mood. I love color because I think it can say so much in itself, without there being anything else in the picture. The nuances of color are very eloquent I think,  for example the color of a place can look so different from one day to the next, because of light and weather and season, and that can symbolize so much in a picture.

© Margot Kenny

A seed drops twirling from the wind, dreams root, leaf, flower, fruit and sings a tree from the darkness. Winged (above)

© Margot Kenny

Blackberry blossoms (above)

© Margot Kenny

Deception.  The stillness.  As leaves fall from trees (above)

Geri:  Please share some of your favorite apps and a bit about your process.

Margot:  I prefer to take photographs at a time of day when I know there will be a more dramatic light, so even though it seems like everything is done in the edit, I like to get the bones of my picture at the shooting stage. I will often wait in one spot until I get the composition I want, whether by a person moving into the frame, or a wave breaking against a rock.  I start off the editing process in Snapseed, to crop and adjust saturation, contrast, etc. I save that as my base image. Then I try out lots of effects in other apps like Pixlr-o-matic, Scratchcam FX, Decim8, Lo-Mob, Vintique, Distressed FX, and save various versions of the base image. Finally, I will probably combine several versions in Image Blender or Photoforge until I get the look I want. Recently I’ve been using BlurFX a bit too. I also make my own textures by photographing things like sand, fabric, walls, roots, water or anything really, and blend that in. The whole process is very intuitive and fun, I make a lot of mistakes and can be sloppy and careless about how I work! I’m always wanting to get something unexpected not something premeditated. Sometimes it’s done in a few minutes, other times I will keep going back over days or even weeks until I’m happy.

Geri:  Have you ever exhibited your work - if not, do you have plans to do so?

Margot:  Yes I have exhibited in the past and hope to again in the future but at the moment, no plans.

© Margot Kenny

Colley Moore Harbour (above)

© Margot Kenny

Looking out the window eating noodles (above)

© Margot Kenny

© Margot Kenny

Three Fishermen (above)

Geri:  Anything you'd like to add?

Margot:  I think it’s always best to shoot from the heart, to have a strong feeling about what you are doing, that to me is much more important than the camera or the apps or any technical knowledge. I also find that sharing my photos through media like Instagram, Flickr, EyeEm etc. gives me energy and enthusiasm to keep making more pictures. I think we all feed each other creatively and that is something I could never have anticipated when I started out doing this, I did not realize how rich the social aspect of mobile photography would be. The response is so immediate and personal and I think that is a big part of why I keep on making pictures this way.

© Margot Kenny

and walk on water. sacrilegious (above)

© Margot Kenny

…we flow with stars as if the dark is a shining sea…(above)


An artist is always alone – if he is an artist.  No, what the artist needs is loneliness ~ Henry Miller (above)

Thank you Margot for this insight into your work.  To view more of Margot’s beautiful images you can visit her galleries:

Instagram @_7willows_

Flickr wwwillow

EyeEm @wwwillow

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