Meaghan Ogilvie is an award-winning Toronto photographer best known for her lovely underwater tableaux such as "Ascension" (above), which illustrates the "Water World" feature in the June 2012 issue of
ELLE Canada. Our associate art director Elena Viltovkaia chatted with Meaghan about creativity, inspiration and the thrill of rolling in the deep.
What inspired you to start taking pictures? My initial inspiration came from sitting in my grandparent’s basement flipping through old
National Geographic magazines in the ’80. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so vacations were non-existent. I’ve always been at my happiest around animals and nature. I promised myself that one day I would go on adventures to explore and document and then share my experiences to inspire others to do the same. I also used the camera as a means to express myself because I was so shy growing up. I hated being shy, but I feel very grateful for that experience now. It definitely made me more sensitive and intuitive.
What drives your creative process? The need to constantly learn, explore and evolve.
What are you inspired by? Anything from a song, a smell, an intimate exchange between people, nature, animals, a movie, something challenging, something violent, something gentle, something sad.
What are the main themes of your work? Bringing awareness to issues I believe are worth fighting for by using the human form to communicate experiences. My underwater work, for example, was inspired by seeing the effects of my father’s degenerative neurological disorder Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA). The disease rapidly shuts down all motor skills and is similar to Parkinson’s, but progresses more quickly. The cause of MSA is unknown and currently there is no cure. It was a very difficult time and I was inspired to create images that celebrated freedom of mobility and weightlessness rather than focus on the negative effects of the disease.
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