Margaret Cogsdill

Margaret Cogsdill


artist statement

She is beset with obstacles she must struggle against.  The female selves of both the adult and the child come together at once, in a time that oscillates between reality and fiction.  She must hold fast to the imaginary world of her past, even to the sinister places she may silently fall. Burdens of an adult mind and the reality of being grown confront her at every turn. Regardless, she calls to her childhood self, as she needs to experience the meaning of what existed before.



Underlying this work is a need to hold onto a vanishing place and my childhood, and thus, a pursuit through photography to prevent ever forgetting it. In these images I struggle to experience both the pleasures and terrors of my former childhood self.

Alone, I return to my grandmother’s land where my strongest memories of childhood play are associated. I inhabit my great-grandmother’s dress from when she was a little girl and use the relics of my past as conduits through which I am able to become a character that slips into a world of fantasy.  Memories, stories, and emotions from my past are explored. The result is a new world of make-believe where my character meets the challenges of authentically feeling her former childhood self. 

However, my attempt to revisit my childhood through this character presents an unusual struggle, as it is impossible to ever completely return. The character is alone in the landscape, emphasizing her vulnerable and fragile relationship with such a pursuit. There is a strenuous relationship with her adult self, as she physically does not fit into the dress or the spaces she once inhabited. The idyllic landscape and in-betweeness of the seasons further reflect the character being caught in a timeless place where fantasy and imagination rule.


what do you love about the MFA program at RIT?

The professors and faculty that are part of RIT’s MFA program are sincerely invested in the student’s work and its success. This personal investment, combined with a small student teacher ratio, allows me as well as my fellow classmates the opportunity to work in an environment in which we are able to continually challenge our work and ourselves. As a second year graduate student now working on my thesis, this is one of the most important factors in the success of my work and one of the many reasons I love RIT’s MFA program!

anticipated graduation date: December 2012