Photographer Megan McIsaac

The freelance photographer talks about her intimate depiction of life in Portland and her spontaneous approach to photography

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    Freelance photographer Megan McIsaac documents her daily life in the musically thriving Portland, Oregon. McIsaac creates a dreamy, intimate and slightly melancholic depiction of a young female living in America. She is an avid photographer for Montreal-based charity The Yellow Bird project. With her work published in magazines such as NYLON, Antler Magazine and Filter-Mag, she has a large body of work in black and white and a seemingly spontaneous approach to taking photographs, where you can’t help but feeling nostalgic over the photographs. We caught up with the young photographer to delve a little deeper into the world of her images. 

    DD: Where are you from/based?
    Megan McIsaac: I was born and raised in metro-Detroit, Michigan but have been living in Portland, Oregon for the past two years.

    DD: How did you get into photography?
    Megan McIsaac: My grandfather, who's also a photographer, bought me a polaroid for christmas when i was seven alongside a childhood subscription to national geographic and countless cardboard boxes filled to the top with family snapshots, slides, and negatives.

    DD: What are you trying to communicate through your photographs?
    Megan McIsaac: i think the objective for sharing my photographs, why i need to communicate through them, is cyclical and goes through phases. more than ever, i am intimately inspired by the early-mid nineteen hundreds, and my life correlates with the darker, quieter, but confident perspective, which is what i am trying to communicate through this current phase of my photographs.

    DD: What camera/film do you prefer to shoot with and why?
    Megan McIsaac: At the moment the only camera i own is my Mamiya c330, after having multiple cameras break on me earlier this year. I'm going to stick with my Mamiya until i find another camera that inspires me. as far as film, when I'm not shooting the various free (most often expired) film that people graciously donate to me, i tend to stick with Kodak Portra for colour or Ilford for black and white, though I've been in yet another black and white phase for a year or so now.

    DD: whose work do you most admire and why?
    Megan McIsaac: Well, there has to be a lovely, obscure, and/or stark balance between composition, lighting, and that specific moment, you know? people that nail that (in my mind) are Saul Leiter, Autumn de Wilde, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Shawn Brackbill, Neal Casal, Noah Kalina, Vivian Maier, Bruce Davidson, etc., etc., etc.,

    DD: how would you describe your work in five words?
    Megan McIssac: "A series of serendipitous moments." I still think that I'm just lucky. 

    DD: what does the future hold?
    Megan McIsaac: "The dark side clouds everything. impossible to see the future is."

    Text by Lucy Bridger

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