Creativity Series - Meaghan Ogilvie

15th August 2018

As part of our Creativity Series, we interviewed photographer Meaghan Ogilvie. 

Can you tell us a bit about your practice and give us your background?

Photography is my background and my focus has been mostly about water for the past nine years - understanding both the beauty and plight of our relationship to it. I use the beauty in my work to build an understanding of how we interact with nature at this critical point. I’ve been fortunate to travel around the world to get a better sense of what this means on a larger scale. Water has an unquestionable ability to connect people and places. Through my work I’ve collaborated with Indigenous women in Ontario Canada and worked on ocean conservation projects around the world.

My practice is evolving from shooting stills to video and experimenting with new ways of storytelling with projections and installations.

Do you feel you have a clear creative process? Or is this something more fluid?

No, I definitely don’t have a clear creative process. I try to for the sake of staying focused, but I find going with the flow and not forcing too much leaves room for great surprises and unique outcomes.

Where do you draw inspiration from? More broadly and day to day, is this different?

I draw inspiration from personal experiences, nature and travel. I do draw some inspiration from day to day, through personal events that happen in my life, but more so on a broader scale.

How do you avoid falling into automatic mode? What routines do you find helpful in keeping your creative side stimulated?

I definitely have to travel and spend time in nature to keep my creative side stimulated. When I’m in the city for too long it’s easy for me to become mechanical and automatic. It’s expensive to live here, so there’s a constant hussle to make money and it becomes draining. Travelling gets me out of my comfort zone where I can experience things for the first time.

I don’t think having a routine to tap into my creativity is good for my practice. I like to switch things up. New and diverse situations keep me stimulated. I have found it really helpful to do artist residencies where I leave my everyday and enter a supportive environment where I can concentrate on my practice. They have been valuable in pushing me forward and opening my creativity up to new possibilities.

Why is creativity important in your role, what environment does it best thrive in? Do you need a quiet space or loud music? Do you need to be alone to be productive?

We live in a visual society, and the mass media inundates us with thousands of images every day. This could be in the news or on instagram where the focus in most cases is on quantity rather than quality. We are overloaded until sometimes nothing seems to have much value or impact on our senses. As a photographer creativity is important in my role to come up with unique images that still hold impact and significance to the masses.

My creativity thrives in diverse environments because I become highly stimulated when everything is new. I like to create in both quiet and loud environments depending on the stage of the project. I love music and it has an influence on the visuals I create both in the production and post production phases. I do need time to be alone to sort out ideas, but I also need to be around others to help with problem solving and getting inspired.

What did you want to do as a child?

I wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic. My family didn’t have a lot of money and never travelled, so the magazine’s images brought the world to me. At a young age it had a huge impact on the dreams I wanted to carry out as an adult. I wanted a life where I’d be around nature, travelling and constantly learning.

Can you tell us about something you have coming up?

This August I’m joining a sailing expedition with some incredibly talented underwater photographers. It’s an expedition sailing boat with an ecological, sporting, educational and artistic approach to the oceans. I’m really excited to learn more about the ocean! Here’s more about the team

I will also be collaborating with other artists this year, travelling and having my foot in the commercial world of photography.

Thanks Meaghan!

You can follow Meaghan's Instagram here @meaghan_ogilvie