Guest Photographer: Margo Kessler Cook

One of the greatest things about what I do is that I get to meet some really creative people. I always said that I don’t have a creative bone in my body and I can’t work a paintbrush to save my life. It amazes me what people can do who have the gifted talent. I work at it and I appreciate all of you who put up with my ramblings and photos that I post every week.

About a year ago I was teaching a digital photography class in Venice, Florida. Every class has it’s own personality and most students make new friends and contacts as well. It’s a win-win for everyone. While everyone was finding a seat, in the back of the room sat a quiet woman with her camera out waiting for the class to start. I like to go around the room and see who has what. Little did I know whom I was meeting. She introduced herself as Margo Kessler Cook and explained that she had lived in Hawaii and was known for her artwork while she lived there.

The class went on and at the end of the six weeks; she invited me to see her gallery sometime. Awhile later I was in the area and made an appoint to stop by. I stepped four feet into the foyer and I was floored. This girl has skills. Not only can she take photos, she is versed in metal work and other forms of art. I mean like museum quality art with detail that you can’t believe and I was only four feet in!

I’m going to let Margo take over from here. I’m honored that she is allowing me to share some of her great photographs with you.

Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - PortraitI started doing my photography when I purchased my very first camera, Konica Minolta DiMage 8 megapixels Point & Shoot (2008). From that camera I went to my bridge camera, the Nikon Coolpix P500 36x optical zoom that I use for travel and last is the Olympus E510 DSLR. Those are the cameras I use so far.

As far as being an artist, I am mostly self-taught. My disciplines are printmaking, photography, chasing and repousse, fabric design and jewelry design/fabrication and bronze casting.

I have been in numerous juried exhibitions both in Hawaii and US mainland; exhibited in various venues in Hawaii including the Honolulu Museum of Art as well as in LA; featured in magazines, won several awards and have art in the historical landmark hotel, The Moana Surfrider in Honolulu, Hawaii. Have been consistently in juried shows here in Florida since I started up this past February. The one of the vines (showed you when you were here) was in the Ringling College of Art and Design/Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA “Sticks and Clicks” Photography Competition. I took 3rd Prize in the Amateur Category. Photo title was “Eye See You”.

The photo with turtle on a log was chosen for the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 33rd Annual Juried Photographic Exhibition: Natural Florida. Piece title was “Out and About”. Received an Honorable Mention from Art Center Sarasota Juried Exhibition – Simply Original, for a solarplate etching I created from one of my photos using a photo transparency. Find that in doing solarplate etchings you can get more from your photos so to speak; life extension in another medium?  Makes me appreciate photography that much more which has now become one of my first loves next to printmaking.

Edit: There are so many photographs that Margo is allowing us to share, that we will split this into two posts with the other photos that she is mentioning.


 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - Texas Sees YouTEXAS SEES YOU – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

Photo taken while visiting a friend in Texas. We both enjoy photography and architecture so he took me to the Texas Capital in Austin. Completed in 1888 it’s a wonderful example of late 19th century public architecture whose style is Renaissance Revival. I fell in love with the rotunda and wanted to try and get a photo with the available lighting. I moved around looking at all the possibilities all the while side-stepping the other tourists. My travel Nikon is a Coolpix P500/w 36x optical zoom and has a swivel LCD screen. The swivel really helped me look at the possible compositions as I couldn’t physically bend back far enough. The shot I really wanted would have required me to lie flat on the floor. Unfortunately the security guard said that wasn’t possible. Got this shot despite not lying down on the job!

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - He loves meHE LOVES ME – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

Flowers, ah, they make me weak in the knees. I can never see enough, smell enough or look at an empty vase without wanting to fill it. Bought this small bouquet of pink tinted daisies expressly to take photos. I put the vase on a lazy Susan and turned it around and around. Find it helpful to study what dances in front of your eyes; what images become stronger than others before shooting. In this particular photo the texture of the petals and depth of field were strong. Suppose the petals were shouting, ‘he loves me, he loves me not” which helped with the title. Taken with my old Konica Minolta (point-n-shoot).

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - UnfoldingUNFOLDING – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

There are several banana trees in my backyard. Makes for wonderful photo ops especially when they are “birthing/unfolding” themselves. It’s fun to look inside the tubular chamber and see curves and angles that look like they go on ad infinitum. This one had a particular mystery to it. Made me think something more than a leaf unfolding was about to occur.

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - Ripple EfectRIPPLE EFFECT – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

My friend’s backyard is a garden growing and work in progress. He purchased this new plant whose name escapes me but think it’s close to a saw palmetto. Just liked the waves contrasted with the lines.

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - Pointing The WayPOINTING THE WAY – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

Class study for critique with Spencer. This was taken on our field trip to Spanish Point last October. Presented it in class and all seemed to like it. Played with the color and gave it a little vintage look around the edges.  Felt it made it a bit more dramatic.

Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - Drinking buddiesDRINKING BUDDIES – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

Last year I was blessed to spend three weeks in South Africa. While I was there I did a four day safari in Kruger Park. Stayed at Skukuza and right outside our campsite was a large watering hole. Of course, the campsite is surrounded by a rather tall electronic fence for obvious reasons, so photo shooting was sometimes tricky. I was able to zoom in and catch these lovely zebras having their morning drink of water. I will always cherish this photo because right after I shot it a big bull elephant approached and scared them all away.

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - Splitting UpSPLITTING UP – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

While on a cruise in the western Caribbean took this shot walking around the deck one evening after the sunset. There was still enough light and noticed this reflection. Liked all the lines and the effect the window created on the waters edge.

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - Piano StudyPIANO STUDY 1 – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

Another class field trip with Spencer. This time to the Ringling Museum and Ca’ d’ Zan. Spencer was helping us all with low light shooting as no flashes are allowed. Found where I was standing the inside of the piano had all the right angles and design elements I like to shoot. Converted this to black and white as felt it offered more in the way of interest.

 Margo Kessler Cook - Venice, Florida - OuchOUCH – Margo Kessler Cook © All Rights Reserved

Early one morning there were a lot of raindrops that stayed on the plants in my yard. This little cactus had lots of new needles and water trapped in between. Made me think of spines on a sea urchin; its oral surface when you flip them over and that both the cactus and urchin can inflict painful wounds if were not careful. It was intriguing to see the patterns emerging as well.

As you can see Margo is a very talented person and has the “photographer’s eye”. Show her some love in the comments section.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Very nice. Very creative.

    • Wonderful stuff! I enjoyed her work and hope someday to have even ONE shot that looks as inviting! Thanks for the opportunity to see her work.

  2. Margo, it is so nice to have the privilege see your beautiful work! I love the details that you stop to see and capture. I remember sitting next to you in one of Spencer’s photography group seminars with Carmen and it was a pleasure to meet you.

  3. That’s my incredibly talented cousin…Margo never ceases to amaze me with her ‘endless’ creativity. Thanks for starting my day with these awing images…love you cuz…

  4. Very eye catching photos. I particularly like the ‘Unfolding’. It’s always amazing to see Fibonacci code images in nature. You really have an eye for this!

  5. Margo
    you truly have a gift from God in many artistic areas. I learned at a photography class taken 15 yrs ago that to be a good photographer you have to have composition, an eye to see what others don’t. You certainly have it. I wish I did. I can see it in others work and maybe I just didn’t pursue it enough to find it in myself. My favorite was the Unfolding

  6. Very inspirational photography. It makes you want to look ” up” and “down” and in your backyard for some interesting opportunities to take your best photos! Love her work!

  7. Margo is a true”treasure” to me as well as her creative, artist work whether in photography, wood, metal , pen and ink or whatever medium she uses! I have a lovely wooden box she deigned and also one of her black and white “circle” drawings. Her talent is unbounded and I enjoy seeing her work as she moves from one project to the next. She has an “eye” for the unusual, unique and dramatic which I enjoy in all her work. Mahalo nui loa, from Hawaii

  8. Margo, you have a very creative eye and wonderful composition. You are extremely talented in many ways. Congratulations and blessings in all your endeavors.

  9. I appreciate you allowing us to peruse your work! It never ceases to amaze me how much beauty there is in the world when one knows where to look and how to capture it for others to appreciate!

  10. I have been lucky enough to see quite a bit of Margo’s artwork up close and personal. She has talent to spare. Very nice photos!

  11. Margo, your versatility astounds me! What an eye you have to capture the movement of life so spectacularly. Hope to see you in Punta Gorda sometime. You deserve all Spencer’s accolades.

  12. I love to see nature unfolding as it does in your leaf and daisy photos. You have captured my eyes and heart with these photos. I look forward to a lifetime of receiving updates whether through Spencer or some other means, and maybe I”ll return to Sarasota some day and see more work directly.
    Remember to contact me if you ever come to Boston! You’d love the Arnold Arboretum and the Garden in the Woods and Trinity Church and so much more… but you see beauty everywhere.

  13. Beautiful photography ! I love seeing the detail in simple things. You have a great gift Margo, and thank you for sharing with us.

  14. Impressed what else can I say talented Margo?
    We knew Florida would be could for you, you find beauty everywhere starting right in your own backyard.

  15. Thank you all for your wonderful comments about my photography. It is a blessing in life to be able to take a camera in hand and find the beauty that surrounds us everywhere. Since the loss of my husband a few years ago, it took me a bit of time to get back into my art. It is good to be able to embrace it once again. I find that when I’m out and about with camera in hand I’m looking beyond the ‘looking’ part. You can always find more than a photograph. You find life.
    May you all take time, whether with or without a camera, to enjoy life. It’s our most precious gift – unwrap it, unfold it and dance with it.
    With much aloha, MARGO

    • Hi Margo

      Amanda from SA Dries’s neighbour. truly a priviledge te see your work. it is such a blessing. It inspires me to take up my camera again.

  16. I love these photos-rather ordinary subjects photo’d in a spectacular way. Great photos
    I like abstract art and some of these are that

  17. Love your pictures and am thankful you shared them with us. I’m looking forward to the next post and more beautiful pictures. You have taken something so simple as a cactus or a banana leaf and made it so elegant. I’ve enjoyed your pictures and your stories. Thank You.

  18. Margo, What a gift it is to see these gems. I knew you were talented when we met at the Florida Flavor Show, but I had no idea of the depth of your skills and how multifaceted your artistic vision is. Thank you so much for sharing your work here. I look forward to learning from you.

  19. Margo,

    Spencer made an excellent selection of your work! I’ve not seen many of these before, and must say I am impressed with your artist growth …. all across the Board, from your printing making, to metal work and now to photography! I have a new name for you and it’s not “M.” It’s “I,” because you have such a good one!



  20. THANK YOU for sharing.

    You are so talented. The thought that you put into the creation of the works you produce is reflected in the results.

    Even your descriptions of your work are poetic. It is amazing to see how your mind works.

    Happy to see that you received such excellent publicity. It is well deserved!

    Have a wonderful day.


  21. Just beautiful Margo! The detail in the leaves was mesmerizing. I also took a journey into that spiral. It is wonderful to know a person with such talents and who sees the world through such a prism of beauty.
    I can’t wait to see more of your work.

  22. This is great Margo! Your pictures are wonderful, they show your talent as a photographer. Looking forward to seeing more of your work. Blessings to you!

  23. What talent. Looking forward to get together again this winter. It makes me realize even more how beautiful the world is. Thank you Margo.

  24. Your photos are not only original and beautiful, Margo, but spellbinding as well. I paused on each and every one to take in all the intricate detail you so masterfully captured. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary works. Looking forward to seeing what you will have down the road for us.

  25. Your work makes me want to go outside and see what you see. I loved your photos.

  26. Hey Margo!

    Neat stuff. You have a great graphic sense.

  27. Margo I truly enjoyed seeing your photography. You are truly talented and your work is inspiring. Thank you for sharing with our group.

  28. The beauty and creative insight in each photograph is amazing to me. I could walk by images like these everyday and not perceive their real beauty. It takes a true talent to realize the potential of these moments.

  29. So exquisite! Even in the naming!

  30. Margo you have captured the beauty of God . I love your work its stunning and unique in beauty. Thanks for sharing! Your talent as an artist is exceptional.

  31. Really great stuff Margo! Looking forward to getting to know you better through the Lakewood Ranch Digital Photography Club.


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