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ART FEATURE: Meg Koning

I started photographing couples because I wanted to dissect relationships. I think I already knew then that my own relationship was on life support. Maybe poking and prodding the cadaver-like body through that of my camera lens makes the most sense to me.

My first photo-series-turned-book, Bones of Us, examines the gritty underbelly of relationships. It captures what relationships look like, not under the sheets, but on the random Tuesday nights when the kids will not stay in bed and the dishes are still stacked in the sink and everything feels intimately overwhelming. After accumulating a portfolio of photos featuring a range of couples in partnerships I paired it with my own writing. At the time of releasing the book, I felt I had given dignity to what I personally experienced in love.

As I embark on my third year of photographing love I am struck with the sentiment of the emotion. The debates carry on about who can love whom, what love should look like, what love is defined as, but I strive to just capture love in a highly simplified form. While I would like to think my photos invite dialogue about the psyches and passions of the subjects in the frame, I actually think they are reduced to quips about something we all identify with; that loving and being loved is perhaps one of the few threads of commonality we are entitled to experience as humans.

And while partnership continues to be something I want to explore photographically, many women have come to me with the idea of being captured independently. I believe that this led me to explore self-love more and more through my camera, and how women perceive themselves. I graduated with a women’s studies minor and I have been fascinated by women on an intellectual level for over a decade. How now I feel we are embarking on a new era of self-love that is breaking ground that our ancestors only dreamed of. My own daughter is being raised in a world where tolerance and understanding are at the forefront of candid conversations. I hope to continue to raise such conversation through my series of women standing alone in nature, where I feel the archetype of Woman is supported best.

For my second book, I hope to shed light on how women in older generations are now, perhaps for the first time, embracing stepping into this new era of self-love with our younger counterparts. I believe that self-love may be the hardest loving relationship we have in our lives, and accepting ourselves is an ongoing process. However, my series remains centered on the same inherent idea; simply love. Exploring this concept offers a myriad of elements and encourages viewers’ self-reflection. And, at the very least, I hope to carry a small torch to light the way for others to see themselves and their journeys in partnership as worthy of being captured.

Meg Koning

Meg Koning lives in Arvada, Colorado where she was born and raised. You can find her journaling, listening to music, and trying to remember to drink her coffee before it gets cold. She has four children who enjoy hiking, exploring, putting together puzzles, and reading comic books together. Meg published Bones of Us in 2021 and is in the process of releasing her second book in 2022. Besides photographing couples and women in the outdoors, she also photographs families in and around Colorado.

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