Interview with Stylist + Photographer Meghan Plowman

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Meghan Plowman

On a recent trip to Perth, I was lucky enough to meet and work with Stylist and Photographer Meghan Plowman. I quickly discovered Meghan was a wealth of information and inspiration for anyone looking to make the move into a freelance creative career. After much hard work, Meghan is now enjoying the beginnings of great success turning her two passions, styling and photography, into a full time career. Shuffling around living room furniture, we got to chatting about the challenges of living a creative life, creating our own job descriptions and taking the leap of faith from a stable full time job to chase a dream. I knew I had to interview Meghan and share her knowledge!

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

DHS – Hi Meghan, how did you get started in the styling and photography industry? Did one come before the other?

MP – I actually began my career in graphic design however I have always had a passion for photography, film and telling stories through imagery. I had been photographing for a few years before I decided to embark on a styling career.

It was during my search for a way to tie together my interests I came across the role of a stylist through the work of mentors such as Sibella Court, Vanessa Colyer Tay and Glen Proebstel. I knew that I also wanted to create these images that were far more than products on a page, but clever story telling. I was hooked!

I began to build up a portfolio by styling and photographing my own work, then approached editors and agencies for experience. Networking with those in my industry exposed me to some great opportunities, which have grown from there.

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

DHS – I imagine that venturing out on your own comes with some level of risk and a fear of the unknown. How did you manage the transition from a stable full time job in to freelancing?

MP – There was definitely some fear of going out on my own that’s for sure. I know I couldn’t have done it without the incredible support of my family and friends.

Whilst working for an interiors boutique (before I ventured out on my own), I had the opportunity to work closely with the local papers. I found myself contributing ideas and images for interiors stories and assisting on photo shoots. It came to a point where I couldn’t say no to the opportunities coming my way and I had to trust in both my instinct and passions that more would follow and that I had to take the next step.

Learning to schedule my time has been the biggest challenge, which is different from and a lot more time consuming than a full time job – but I am still learning more about managing this as I go. It can also be quite a lonely journey for a freelancer; being someone who loves people I ensure that I stay in touch with other freelancers in my network who I can bouce ideas off and discuss challenges with – I feel really blessed to have these people in my life as extra support in my business and now personally. They have become my co workers in a way and I also couldn’t do this without them.
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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

DHS – You’ve enjoyed great success and attracted much of your business from your Instagram profile (16,000 followers). How did you attract so many followers? Please share with us your tips!

 MP – I have been so incredibly amazed by the support I have had from Instagram and the community it has helped to build. In fact I am seeing this worldwide with Instagram helping build connections and business in huge ways. It’s essentially the real ‘social’ media!

I began using Instagram as an outlet for my own photography and styling work, because I love taking photos. It’s still the reason I use it but it’s become more of a daily portfolio for me – I have developed my style and will keep developing it through the constant inspiration and quality of images I see everyday.

I think my main pointers with building a following on Instagram would be to interact with people, don’t be afraid to comment on their images and be specific. Tell them what you like about a certain image and why. Also, try to find your own consistency and build your own style, be it through your subjects, editing, and even the way you speak to your following. I follow some users who simply make me laugh! 

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

DHS – What advice can you give to upcoming Stylists and Photographers hoping to build their own profile and portfolio?

MP – I’d definitely recommend looking for other creatives you admire who are also starting out, and collaborate on a project. That way you can all help build your portfolios together. I recall assisting on a shoot in the beginning where the team including a hairdresser, model, makeup artist, photographer, stylist and assistants were ‘paid’ in images. If you can come to an agreement with your photographer then everyone involved benefits from a professionally produced shot for their portfolio.

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

DHS – I can’t wait to see you upcoming projects, what’s in the pipeline?

MP – I’m really excited to have the opportunity in the new year to work closely with Mobilia and international design studio CulDeSac on an exhibition they are bringing to Perth called Design Circus, an adventurous concept to spark the imagination and challenge the way we see design.  Think a full circus experience mixed with clever visual display of industrial design!

I will also be continuing work with a number of U.S. brands such as Hearth and Mornings Like These, where I will be developing branding as well as contributing lifestyle stories and photography.

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

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Photograph + Styling by Meghan Plowman

Guest Post on The Interiors Addict with Liane Rossler

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The most exciting revelation in interior design at the moment is the gaining momentum of sustainable practices. Both designers and consumers are becoming more aware of the consequences of purchasing a mass produced cheap thrill. There is a renewed appreciation for the beauty of handmade objects and their skilled makers. We’re seeing truly innovative recycling projects everywhere, from our neighbours’ DIY to the latest online homewares store. It’s trendy to ‘upcycle’. It’s even trendier to do so whilst retaining good design and style.

With a vast array of projects on the go, Liane Rossler is succeeding at promoting local artisans, contributing to the recycling movement and sharing her knowledge as an advisor to the design industry. A creative pioneer based in Sydney, Liane has a reputation in the industry for her kind and generous spirit which is so apparent in her projects. I was lucky enough to interview Liane to find out what she is up to and to share her thoughts on the future of design.

The broad range of projects you are involved in is nothing short of inspiring. What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been curating ‘Here and Now’ at Carriageworks for 2013 as part of their artistic program. It includes commissioned works by artists and designers for three projects: Useful, Totes and Lucky. 

I’m working with Sarah K on our Supercyclers project, making some Plastic Fantastic pieces for an exhibition in Italy. I’m doing an architecture workshop with my husband Sam for SCAF and their Fugitive Structures exhibition. Then there’s a design advisory day in October with Sydney Living Museums and The Garage Sale Trail (happening 26 October).

I work with a number of organisations and am onThe City of Sydney Retail Advisory Board, Creative Services Advisory at Sydney Living Museums, Editorial Advisory Board at ARTAND Australia, and Advisory Board at &Company. I’m an ambassador for 1 Million Women, for The Garage Sale Trail and am a member of The Voiceless Council. I’m also working on a variety of creative advisory, retail advisory, business and educational projects, as well as other independent design projects.

Your projects are diverse, but all share the common goal of taking action for a better future through creativity, considered living and good design. What are your hopes for the future of design and creative innovation in our society?

I’m excited by all the possibilities that design and creative innovation bring to society, and love discovering new ways of thinking that can make life better for others. I hope that people continue to create innovative and thoughtful ways to address the challenges that we face, and that the new wave of good things overcomes some of the not so good things.

What is your advice for lovers of all things design and interiors? How can we consume responsibly?

We all love to surround ourselves with beautiful things, so I think it is important that when we buy we think about how something was made, what it’s made from, who made it, where did it come from, how long it will last, and where will it go. There should be beauty in how something is made as well as what it looks like

I am a big believer in supporting local artisans and utilising honest, sustainable materials. I’d love to know who your favourite local artisans are and what materials are inspiring you at the moment?

I agree! I love materials innovation and I’m besotted by fungi and all the great things it can do. Other natural materials like algae hold huge potential. Wood and stone are always beautiful. I love seeing natural materials developed and used in unexpected ways.Sunlight is a pretty inspiring material and I love seeing all the developing technologies in solar power.

Local artisans like Dale Hardiman and Henry Wilson do consistently thoughtful and interesting work with sustainable materials, and artist Sarah Goffman does transformative work with everyday materials. I love the Tjanpi weavers, who create magic from local materials.

What’s next?

In 2014 I’m looking forward to more time to develop the design projects I’ve been working on, as well as more Supercyclers projects and a new Happy Talk project. I love working on all the advisory projects and look forward to seeing them continue to develop.

Here and Now: Lucky, by Liane Rossler

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This morning I popped down to the Carriageworks in Eveleigh to visit the latest instalment of Here and Now: Lucky.  Lucky has been curated by Liane Rossler to feature works by Australian and New Zealand creatives.  The concept is to explore the idea of luck and interpret their findings through design and art.

My favourite creation was the hanging bells called ‘let the pure wind release you’ by Tiffany Singh.  A concoction made from fabulous natural materials –  brass, copper, clay,  twine, beeswax, paper, flowers, leaves and natural dyes, these unusual objects really caught my eye!  Made in collaboration with other artists, the aim is to keep the ancient tradition of Kharki (bell making) alive.

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Other fun standouts were bronze knuckles and gold plated chicken wishbones, with wishes attached!  It’s well worth the visit.

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Please have a look at my guest post for The Interiors Addict on Liane Rossler and her latest projects….

http://theinteriorsaddict.com/qa-with-liane-rosler-on-sustainable-design