Such is the life of a photographer: Meagan Harding

There’s a certain something about Meagan Harding that makes her stand out from the rest.

Is it her exquisite demeanour with a lick of real Australiana? Is it her easily noticeable sense of style? Her warm and hilarious personality that is only too happy to approach and be approached? Or her penchant for occasionally being lethally blunt with the odd profanity thrown in here and there?

All of the above. Meagan is a gem in the firmament of Melbourne’s photographic repertoire and one that, scratch the surface and you’ll see, has a lifetime of tales and skills to impart and expand upon.

With a camera in hand, a smile worn and an insatiable hunger for taking the ‘perfect photo’, Meagan’s shutter finger has a busy and chaotic life. Meanwhile, the woman behind the work keeps herself busy and drives her namesake and her passion further and further into the Melbourne fashion photography realm.

Coming from a rich and very heavy corporate background in the upper echelons of the retail world, Meagan downed tools a year-and-a-half ago and picked-up a camera instead, chasing a lifelong passion and a hunger for happiness.

“I’ve noticed that I’m not truly happy unless I’m being fed creatively,” she said. “I tend to get a bit dead inside when I’m not given the opportunity to be creative in one way or another. So you can see why I moved on.”

Her passion for photography started during her wee younger years of playing with cameras with her father, who used them greatly during the course of his days.

“He’s wasn’t a professional, but he had plenty of professional gear. I was just lucky enough to be allowed to play with it all,” she said.

This helped her grow creatively, foster a love for cameras and the old school practise of hours in the dark room and develop an itching passion for photography in all its forms.

Similarly, her love for fashion and style began from a young age, too, having grown-up with sewing machines lining the kitchen table and fabrics draping every piece of furniture. Her mother, two aunties and grandmother all carried the skill of the seamstress, which for Meagan seemed to be an inherent family talent.

“It was never anything that struck me as a ‘skill’ or a ‘thing’ necessarily, it was just natural: you lived in my house, you learned to sew,” she said.

With the combination of both talents and knowledge banks, it was only a matter of time before the natural progression of Meagan’s life lead her to where she is today.

Meagan never studied fashion or photography. A wise fellow photographer friend of hers once told her the amount of money and time spent on degrees and education, while they have their merit, amounted to nothing in comparison to the experience and value gained from working hands-on. This too is the secret she passes on to all budding photographers.

That is after all how she managed to perfect her art to what has become the Meagan Harding staple; monochromatic explorations of the human emotion.

Meagan enjoys photographing people; people in any way, of any shape, in any position and doing anything.

She sees perfection as the flaw and flawlessness as perfection.People are all made differently and it’s those differences that make them such an attractive subject matter to her keen eye.

“I tend to see the world through a lense,” she said. “I envisage everything as a photograph and imagine everything as the opportunity for a shot.”

Her style is typically quite dark, brooding and can at time verge on the virtually foreboding, however, she is not a dark person. It’s simply her style. Meagan gravitates toward the expressive monochromatic shots because as she says, black and white show the shadows, light and darkness better.

Some of her most favourite shots are of friends, clients and strangers at the exact pinnacle of an expressive moment, in black and white.

“The most important moment for a photographer is exactly when you choose to open the shutter. That moment is precisely the time a photographer shines and either makes it or breaks it,” she said.

While Meagan’s style is renowned in the Melbourne social and fashion scene, she says there are many other photographers out there that trump her skills and knowledge and all have their own takes and styles.

“There is no one right way to take a photo or one right way to build your own style. Of course, there are the technically correct ways of doing things, but ultimately as long as the end result brings a smile of reaction to the face of the audience, then job done.

“We all learn, have learned and will keep learning. There’s no way know you’ll every know everything there is so know, but time and practise amounts to at least some kind of adept skill.”

The role she plays, as far as Meagan herself sees it, is to bridge the gap between a moment of another person and someone else. As long as she evokes some kind of reaction, whether it be a look of admiration, a positive or negative comment or a long, lingering gaze, her job is complete and she can sleep content at night.

“I love nothing more than getting some sort of reaction from those that admire my work. I don’t care if they love it, hate it; that’s not my concern. What I really want to see is something, an emotion from the captured emotion or moment in time. That’s what gives me my kicks.”

Whether those photographs are a part of her personal collection or the work of clients, Meagan’s principles still remain. Her earlier days of travelling the globe for five years alone and with boyfriends included thousands upon thousands of photo reels and negatives that Meagan still has with her today.

“Such is the life of a photographer,” she said. “My countless self-developed photographs and three-and-a-half-thousand negative reels line the storage rooms of my house, while my favourites line my walls. I love the memories and love the reactions they invite.”

When it comes to photography, there’s no doubt Meagan knows the tricks of the trade. Her vivid and passionate enthusiasm for her every day is infectious and something she imparts upon all she meets.

Photography is an art; her art. And like any job or title within the creative field, you rarely find it, it finds you.

She wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Please follow Meagan on Twitter @meaganharding  or like her on Facebook here.

9 Responses to “Such is the life of a photographer: Meagan Harding”
  1. Meagan is such a talent!
    Fab post x

  2. Leigh says:

    I agree James – this is quite an eloquent piece – very insightful.

  3. I really enjoyed this post James – your words + Megan’s pics = WIN!

  4. Bob & Dee! says:

    We are pleased to see the recognition displayed here of Meagan’s talent!!

  5. This is a really great interview JB. Well done. It really ‘captures’ Meagan.

  6. Rina Chia says:

    Brilliant post James! There is so much to love about Meagan. Good work. xx

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