By Ryan Gueningsman
Even though she grew up around photography, and worked at her family’s business while growing up, Megan Motzko never really saw herself as a photographer.
Megan is the daughter of Chuck and Linda Motzko, who own Linda’s Photography in Delano. She has been working at the studio since she was 13 or 14 years old, but now, the 22-year-old has become one of the area’s best.
Graduating from Delano High School in 2003, Motzko went to Ridgewater College, graduating from there in 2005. It was in high school when she was in an independent study program that she was presented with the opportunity to take photos and develop and process them “the old fashioned way,” she said.
“I had intentions of just trying it and seeing if I liked it,” she said, adding that as she got into it more, she soon discovered it was what she wanted to do and pursue further.
Megan said, growing up, that her mother never pressured her to follow in her footsteps, and said her mother let her figure it out on her own.
Now working at the studio alongside her mother, Megan has won five national awards over the past two years, and was also recognized by the Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association as Portrait Photographer of the Year for 2007, as well as having the “Best of Show Portrait” for her shot titled “Feelings Behind My Eyes.”
Megan has been a member of the association for the past four years, and this is the second year in a row she has received recognition.
At the awards banquet last month at The Caves in St. Paul, Megan received the most recognition for a self portrait. She explained the meaning behind it was to portray the feelings a person feels inside that they don’t necessarily want to tell the world,
“On my hand, I had beautiful, but I might have had ugly some things you probably wouldn’t tell people, you hide behind your image,” she said. “It’s kind of something I just came up. I always wanted to try something with writing on the hand, but it’s just one of those things you just play around with.”
She said the image that became her favorite was not the image she originally had in her head. Originally, she used both hands, but at the end of the session, she tried just one hand, and it ended up being her favorite. The photo was taken about three months ago.
Megan also entered photos featuring two kids on the Delano railroad tracks, a photo of a friend taken at a junkyard, and a photo of a girl in Long Lake in her prom dress.
She said even though she may shoot customers for 10 hours a day, she doesn’t think twice about calling up a friend to go and try some different ideas. She said after doing what the customer wants all day, it’s fun to take some time and try what she wants.
She said she also enjoys traveling to and photographing different places. A trip to Italy is planned in the next few months, and she’s also been to Europe in the past. She said she’s also been fortunate to be able to travel with her family to many places across the United States.
Linda said she couldn’t be more proud for her daughter, and said she could not have wished for anything more.
“It’s great working together as a family, and being able to travel and spend time together,” Linda said.
Having owned the studio for 29 years, Linda said she has learned over the years that “the more you give, the more you get back.”
This is evident with their bunnies and lambs event every spring, where they photograph children with animals, and funds raised go to Children’s Cancer Research. At age 22, Linda’s son, Chaz, who also does sales for the studio, ended up with a childhood form of leukemia.
She said along with working together, this has helped bring the family even closer together. Linda’s husband, Chuck, does the accounting, as well as the building and maintaining of sets and their property used for outdoor shoots.
“It truly is one of those working family businesses,” Linda said proudly.
As for Megan, she’s also happy right now where she’s at. Whether she’s in Delano or Australia, she’s almost guaranteed to have camera in hand.
“I would say, for the near future, I definitely see myself working here, and possibly, hopefully taking it over someday,” Megan said, “but I also would love to travel the world and do my own thing.”