NORWALK, Conn. (AP) - For years, Margaret Kraus begged her parents for a digital camera.
When she reached third grade, they gave in. She took pictures of everything from random toys lying around the house to her twin sister.
But it wasn’t until her family traveled to Thailand four years ago that she really caught the bug. By then of course, her camera of choice had become an iPhone.
“That’s when I started thinking about it as more than just a hobby,” Kraus said. “The reason I like photography is that I see beauty in a lot of things. Something just compels me to take a picture. It’s important to find what inspires you and pursue it, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Now, at just 16, Kraus is teaching photography and has exhibited her work throughout Fairfield County. Her current exhibit, at Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, will be up through the end of the month.
“It never occurred to me to show my work until my parents brought it up and I started thinking about it as a career path and thinking about that next step,” Kraus said.
Kraus has never taken a photography class, and said she probably won’t. Instead, she learns by studying the work of photographers and artists she admires. She started by taking pictures of her fraternal twin sister, Vivienne, playing with interesting lines and lighting to create artistic images.
“When I was little, I always loved art and being creative,” Kraus said. “My sister is my muse kind of. I saw beauty in her and in every day. She’s so naturally beautiful, and I will make her stand in front of buildings and in cool lighting. It’s no longer just my sister, but she’s how it started.”
She only takes pictures with her iPhone, a telling sign of the times and her age.
“I like it because I have it with me all the time,” Kraus said. “I’ve thought about (buying a camera) but it is expensive so that makes it more of a barrier.”
Kraus has posted over 200 photos on her Instagram, @Vivaciouslyy, a play on her sisters name. She has exhibited her work at the Reeds Building and City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport and will teach a workshop this month in Bridgeport. In April, she will put up an exhibit at a coffee shop near her boarding school in New Hampshire.
As for being her sisters go-to model, Vivienne Kraus said she doesn’t mind.
“I kind of just went with it,” Vivienne Kraus said. “We’ve always had this relationship where she kind of bosses me around … I’m very proud of her and it’s great that people like her work. Her work is beautiful and accessible so it’s great to get it out there for people to enjoy.”
Kraus’s father, Bill Kraus, said he didn’t realize until he heard Margaret speak about her photography, how much artistic consideration she put into the images. And it wasn’t until someone outside the family acknowledged her work, that he began to see her work in a new light.
“They were volunteering at a pre-school and she took a lot of amazing photos of the children there and one of the teachers suggested she do a show,” Bill Kraus said. “That was the first time as a father that somebody else said, ‘These are great.’”
Information from: The Hour, http://www.thehour.com
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