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Features

September 24, 2012

Doors open when Duggar’s lens shutters

DUNCAN — If anyone else were to drive along a downtown alleyway, all they might see are rundown buildings and trash filled dumpsters, but the eyes of a local photographer sees doors.

It’s not just doors that catch the lens of Debbie Duggar, a Duncan resident, but doors that shout character and give an attitude their surroundings. However, doors were not what gave Duggar her start in photography.

“I’ve always taken pictures,” she said. “I have a big family and they have always taken a lot of pictures.”

Duggar grew up in Lawton in a family of eight children and moved to Duncan in 1987 with her husband Charles and daughter Shannon. At the time, they were looking for a house and Duncan’s ran cheaper.

“It was also a smaller town and Shannon was about to start kindergarten, so we thought it would be a better atmosphere for her,” Duggar said.

However, Duggar does commute to work for her job as the information insurance manager for Fort Sill, where she has been employed for 35 years. Despite that being her main source of income, photography has continued to be a hobby, and now, an additional form of income.

“About three years ago, I started taking photos of more than just people, things that I could use in my house,” Duggar said. “I put them up on Facebook and people started commenting on them and saying I had a good eye for photos.”

Shortly after those comments were made, through the suggestion of her friend Karen Slagle, Duggar joined the Duncan Art Guild and began entering its shows as well as others around the state. She has now participated in four DAG shows and has done well. She also continues to update a Facebook page, DDVisuals.

Duggar is also a member of the Wichita Wildlight Photography Society and said she has learned quite a bit by being involved with both groups.

“You learn how to market yourself and get to hear what others do,” she said. “I had all these photos and I wondered what to do with them all and now I sell them in shows.”

Her favorite things to capture with her camera are old buildings, such as the old Duncan Power House on Sixth Street. And there is her love of doors.

“I enjoy finding the unique beauty in old architecture,” Duggar said.

“It’s fun to go places and down the alleys of old towns because I like the quirky things I find when I start looking.”

Because of the travel her job requires, Duggar gets out of town often and never fails to take her camera. Last March, her job took her to Tucson, Ariz., where she visited a desert museum. Just this summer, she traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, where her eyes took in the immense beauty of old architecture.

“There were so many old buildings, especially downtown, and several churches,” said Duggar. “There was one church that had been built in 1761.”

Although some take their talent into a sole or secondary business, photography has remained a hobby for Duggar. The few people she gets shots of with her camera are her family, which includes her three grandchildren.

“I will probably continue to do it after retirement for fun and extra income,” she said.

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