Aquatic and intriguing, Toronto-based photographer Meaghan Ogilvie’s universe tries to make the audience a bit more aware of the vital relationship that links us to the oceans. Between ethereal aesthetics and artistic militancy, we asked a few questions to this artist whose works cannot leave us indifferent.
In your photographs, water is omnipresent. Why and how did it become your main inspiration and artistic signature?
I started shooting underwater when my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Systems Atrophy. Not much was known about the disease, so I wanted to use photography to bring awareness to it. Underwater photography was rare at the time, and I realized I could combine my two passions of water and photography in a project. I hoped to create memorable images to get people’s attention, and it worked. The series got a lot of exposure so I was able to talk about the disease and I quickly became recognized as an underwater photographer.
I’ve always been in awe of water. I love the many facets of it and how it makes me feel when I’m in it. I can stay in the ocean for hours, and when I’m away from it I feel homesick! I love its complexity, but most of all I love how it connects everything and everyone. So, I continued shooting underwater, started to travel more and began collaborating with Indigenous women. Travelling and spending time with these women changed my perspective on how I viewed water and the urgency to protect it.
I felt there needed to be something ambitious done — imagery that went beyond traditional photojournalism and instead used unique photography of humans and water that could go towards a new way of discussing the topic.
Water became more than an inspiration. I felt a responsibility to protect it. Just like my first series, I learned that the beauty of images could go a long way toward calling attention to an issue. So I’ve used my work for the past six years to collaborate on water conservation projects. I’m very passionate about water, and that’s why it has remained my artistic signature.
What inspires you to create?
The need to understand and explore the world around me and inspire others to do the same.
What’s next for you?
I’m in an exciting time in my career where there are many directions I want to go. I will be travelling a lot more and creating new work this year. I also want to use other mediums like sculpture and projection mapping with photography to tell stories in a new way. I’m planning to go to Tulum and Tahsis this summer and fall to work on installations and collaborate with other artists. I also have an exhibition of my work in Sarlat France which I’m really excited about as well.
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