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Photographer Megan McIsaac

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

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