Getting To Know Poet & Photographer Margaret Jeune

"A brief outline of my photographic journey. I have enjoyed my association with Excio. Thank you for this opportunity to clarify my thinking about what photography means to me and the way that I approach the photographic process. Photography is definitely for the people as is my other interest- poetry." Margaret Jeune, Excio member.

By Margaret Jeune

Margaret, what's your story?

I was born in Auckland to English parents and I grew up in Wainuiomata. I moved to Wellington in the late 1970’s, to Otaki in 1990, to Levin in 1999, and am now back to Brooklyn, Wellington since 2017.

I have a BA in Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood and currently work as a relief teacher for Whanau Manaaki Kindergartens in Wellington.

My dream, earlier in my life, was to travel around the country taking photographs. It's a dream come true in some ways as I have travelled widely around New Zealand - I am a poet and I write about my perceptions of the world around me. When I travel, I am very focused on what is happening around me so when I take photographs, I am very keen to capture the moment.

I am currently working with Mark Pirie from HeadworX on collections of poetry. Our most recent anthology Three Poets was published in April 2020. Our next collection will be a photo book of lockdown poems and photos written by Mark Pirie, my son Alex and me. I have submitted a number of my lockdown photos taken around Wellington (Level 4 and Level 3) and Lower Hutt (from level 3) for the collection.

By Margaret Jeune

Tell us more about your journey with photography...

Technology has changed the way I take photos. I was initially using film but I now experiment with capturing the world around me using either a digital camera or a smartphone depending upon which is the most effective at the time.

I particularly enjoy photographing natural landscapes. However, I have a strong interest in art, and I also like to photograph sculptures and murals wherever they are placed in the landscape.

My favourite photo is of Horseshoe Bend in Tokomaru. This photograph of mine was painted by an artist and donated to the Bent Horseshoe Café in the grounds of which the photo was taken. I like the mystery in that photo and the story that it tells - A truly magical setting. The original Bent Horseshoe Café in Tokomaru has since closed down and it is now run from the Hokowhitu Bowling Club, it is primarily a live music venue.

"Horseshoe Bend" by Margaret Jeune

How did you stay creative during lockdown?

Lockdown was an interesting time for me as I contributed to a NZ photography Facebook page called Enjoy Aotearoa and also to a lockdown poetry Facebook page. I combined both of my interests on each page, sharing my photography along with my poetry on the poetry Facebook page and providing written descriptions of the background to the photos I shared on the photography Facebook page. I am grateful to Excio for encouraging me to research the background to the photos that I have taken.

Can you share one of your poems with us?

A lockdown poem - The Miracle of Life

At home I watch the birds

As they feed on crumbs

I have put out for them

On a ledge on my fence

I find myself taking a lot more notice

Of the little things

I discover a new frond on a punga

That had been cut back

Life goes on

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

The sun breaks through the clouds

And a partial rainbow arches across the sky

Teddy bears greet me from windows

And strangers greet me

As I walk around my neighbourhood

Life goes on

The little things in life

Give me pause to reflect

On the miracle of life

By Margaret Jeune

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