Featured contributor

Magera Holton

She’s been published in Pictory a few times, but you might remember this photo of her grandfather best.

The other day I asked Pictory’s Twitter followers who my next featured contributor should be. Magera’s name came up — good idea! The only hard part was tracking her down. You know someone isn’t lying to you about being in a foreign country when her interview answers come back with none of the i’s dotted. More on Magera:

What are your favorite things to photograph?

People. My father used to tell me you could discover a lot about a person and their surroundings by observing the nuances of their daily routines.

We happened to be in Rishikesh, India during a massive pilgrimage, which meant that the town was overflowing with young men dressed in orange from nearby villages. I think it was some of the boy’s (and the monkey’s) first time seeing a white woman.

What’s the best story you don’t have a photograph for?

A few years back I shared a train ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway with an memorable Belorussian man who was unfailing in his hospitality. He offered vodka, cheese, salami, ice cream, cookies, and more vodka to my vegan friend and I around the clock, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. It wasn’t until we got off in Ulan Bator that I realised I didn’t once take his picture.

What do you do for a living?

I’m an interaction designer. I find it extremely satisfying to define experiences and interactions have a positive influence on a user’s daily life. For me, interaction design is similar to photography in the sense that you are carefully crafting a story for an audience.

We’ve read about your family a few times. Tell us about how they’ve shaped who you are.

The greatest thing my family has taught me is the power of imagination. My father turns dumpster finds into beautifully finished furniture. My mother can fix broken appliances with a book, a wrench, and a few hours. Today, they live outside of Austin, Texas where they are fulfilling their life-long dream of building their own home. Since they are doing everything themselves, they are having to slowly piece it all together. My mom is now versed in proper wiring code for electricity and they can pour a slab of concrete like a pro. They use recycled materials as often as possible, and are planning on installing solar panels and a rain water system. My parents tell me I can do anything I want if I work for it, and they prove it to me every day.

This photo was taken in my parents’ outdoor kitchen this past January. Although this kitchen has a refrigerator, sink, cabinets, etc.; the roof consists of tarps strung in between trees and the floor is gravel. Even though it’s quite chilly in there (notice my parent’s puffy jackets) I’m going to be sad when they eventually replace it with an indoor kitchen.

Close out this interview with an image for us to remember you by.

Besides the image of my grandpa with the glasses, everyone seems to love this photo I took while in Rishikesh, India. We were there during a massive pilgrimage from the headwaters of the Ganges river to Varanasi, which happened to coincide with the monsoon season. The common misconception is that the liquid running down the steps is milk, but it’s actually water.

Check out more of Magera’s work.


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