Meaghan Ogilvie is a talented Toronto photographer and artist. Her work has been featured in exhibitions and magazines both locally and internationally. Meaghan is the recipient of awards and recognitions from across North America and internationally as a shortlisted photographer in the Sony World Photography Awards, being selected from 62,654 photographs entered from 170 countries worldwide.

Recognized for her ethereal underwater images, Meaghan Ogilvie continues to experiment to further her experiences, exploring new technologies and working with early photographic processes. Employing the human figure to dissect movement and space underwater and on land, her investigations are articulated through poetic, sensual and sometimes enigmatic imagery. Meaghan’s fascination extends with uncovering new territory within her medium and better understanding our relationship to nature. Compelled by a sense of exploration and compassion, she takes on challenging experiences at every opportunity and articulates them in the images she creates.

Meaghan Ogilvie’s biggest accomplishment to date has been the commission awarded to her by the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Committee. This incredible opportunity allows Meaghan to create a large-scale body of work to present at the world premiere in the summer of 2015.

     

1. Have you always known you wanted to be a photographer?

Yes. I used to sit in my grandparent’s basement growing up and would go through old National Geographic magazines. I would daydream and pretend I was shooting Amazon expeditions and fighting off anacondas to get my shot. My family didn’t have a lot of money and never travelled, so these places sounded so exotic and unbelievable to me. At that point, I knew photography was a means to get me to those places. When I started getting more serious about photography in high school, I realized it wasn’t just a means to travel, but it was also the right tool for communicating creatively.

2. Who is someone that has inspired you throughout the years in your career/life?

There are so many for different reasons, but from the beginning, Floria Sigismondi’s multi-disciplinary work has been a huge influence for me. I admire how she continues to grow as an artist from photography to music videos to feature films and now a record label. I also admire Sally Mann’s intrepid spirit and intimate portraits and Sebastião Salgado’s dedication to long-term projects. My tastes have changed throughout the years, so there are many others who inspired and continue to inspire me through photography, music, architecture, painting, fashion and even different forms of activism.

3. What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a career in photography?

Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t give up. Failing doesn’t mean it’s necessarily over. Mistakes happen and turn you in the right direction. Learn from it and move forward. You will build more character and skill this way. Take risks and continue to re-invent yourself personally and creatively. Most importantly, always take pictures. Make projects for yourself and see them through.

4. Where and how do you find inspiration and concepts for your work?

I find inspiration more often when I’m alone with my thoughts without distractions. Sometimes I have vivid dreams and I take from that. I always find inspiration in nature, but also going for a walk or within the first few minutes before I fall asleep at night when I have a chance to focus. Listening to music really helps me get it flowing. If I’m stuck, I look at the work of other photographers, painters, architects or music video directors.

The concepts I work from are mostly of deep importance to me emotionally. They’re something I have a personal connection to at different periods in my life. One body of work leads me to the next. Music then helps me visualize these concepts. I try not to have any restrictions on my thoughts no matter how fantastical and unrealistic they might be.

5. Who was the first person you called when you got the news that you would be one of the artists chosen for PANAMANIA?

I called my sister and took a picture of my face because I don’t think I’ve ever smiled that big before in my life.

6. What is a project you loved working on and why?

I love working on this current project for PANAMANIA. It’s the first project I’ve been able to solely focus on and put all of my energy into. It also carries an important message with the opportunity to share it with an international audience. It’s an incredible honour to represent Toronto during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. I’ve met so many interesting people along this journey that have helped shape this body of work. I feel so grateful to have this opportunity and can’t wait to share it with everyone in the summer of 2015!

         

7. What is your favourite pastime/hobby?

Can I say taking pictures? I actually make little projects for myself and take pictures when I’m not taking pictures for work. I also like being active, so when it’s not -40 degrees in Toronto, I jog, bike, swim or head to Toronto Island and do some riding and beach time. I also love road trips. I did a lot of driving back and forth to Tobermory and Manitoulin Island this past summer for the project and got comfortable with freshwater diving. So, I may take that up in the warmer months.

8. Tell us one guilty pleasure you have!

Watching gifs of cats and sloths.

9. If you could pick one person to have lunch with (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Kelly Oxford. I think she’s cool and I want to hang out with her. She makes me laugh.

10. After the Pan Am Games, what is next for Meaghan Ogilvie?

My goal is to have the exhibit travel across North America to reach as many people as possible to get a conversation started about our relationship to water. I would also like to continue to produce work for this project as I have many ideas and have learned so much more, but have limited time. Beyond this, I want to dig a bit deeper and collaborate with other indigenous communities around the world and focus on the importance of water within their cultures. I will also be working on a series of portraits using old photographic processes.

Learn more about Meaghan Ogilvie by visiting her website. To find out more about her Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games large-scale photography/video exhibition about our relationship with water please click here. Tweet us and tag us on Instagram @LangtonPR and show your support for Meaghan using the hashtag #SacredWater.