FFO: Fashion! Turn to the left – Fashion! Turn to the right
Who are you and where are you currently based?
I’m Megan Dalton, I grew up in Preston, Lancashire but I’m currently based in Leeds studying fashion photography at Leeds Arts University.
What’s your practice? What themes does your work explore?
As a fashion photographer my work so far has explored a variety of themes ranging from the deconstruction of tailoring, to how 90s club culture is implemented within British culture and gender within my styling choices. Occasionally my work is simply for aesthetic value however, I usually develop concepts based around the styling, landscapes I want to use or the assistants I’m working with.
What got you interested in your artistic practice?
I’ve always been involved in artistic practices whether that’s been fine art or illustration. I decided to study photography at a-level and began developing an interest for fashion photography towards the end of my course. During my time in college I was gifted a film camera and began documenting the everyday and my travels with street casting starting to filter in. It wasn’t until I visited the Foam gallery in Amsterdam that I really developed an appreciation for fashion photography Helmut Newton – A Retrospective opened my eyes up to the world of fashion and I began developing my research from there. I guess you could call that the start of my journey.
What was the last exhibition you seen?
I went to the opening night of Hot Mirror at the Hepworth, Wakefield. I thought the exhibition was incredible, the surreal landscapes and art direction considered in the body language of the subjects made for a really engaging set of imagery. Curating her immersive film to show in a mirrored box alongside hanging fabric prints made for a really unique exhibition.
Who are you inspired by?
The people at the forefront of my mind currently are Alasdair McLellan, Jamie Hawkesworth, Ethan James Green and Juliette Cassidy. These photographers all play a role in influencing the work I create. It’s important to me to stay inspired by my peers and the people I surround myself with.
What are your future aspirations?
I’m still figuring this one out, I’d predominantly like to work as an in-house editorial photographer for a publication. Art direction is something I also hope to explore further down the line. As for the near future I hope to have my work exhibited more in the UK, work with more creatives on collaborative pieces and work with more clients as a freelance photographer alongside my studies.
You mentioned your work is sometimes only for aesthetic value, why do you feel its important to practice photography purely for this aesthetic merit?
Sometimes making something for purely aesthetic value is a fun way to identify the way my personal identity is developing continuously. I’m an over-thinker so I know that even when I’m working merely for aesthetic value my brain is subconsciously thinking about every element of the photoshoot, bringing it together in a way so that people can clearly see the reflection of myself in my work.
Being based in Leeds, would you say the city offers you opportunities to network and/or collaborate with fellow practitioners in your chosen field? (Fashion Photography)
I’ve found that since being in Leeds I’ve networked far more. My lecturers have given me opportunities to shoot graduate fashion shows and collaborate within the university. Socialising has meant I’ve met musicians, graphic designers and fashion designers that have asked to collaborate. As I’m immersing myself more in the city, I’m definitely getting more out of being in Leeds.
What advice would you recommend to young creatives today?
As a young creative the reassurance I give myself and peers is usually not to read articles about what age you supposedly have to ‘make it’ by and that you don’t have to be in London to be successful. Just be easy on yourself, take a break from looking at streams of amazing work across Instagram and re-focus your mind on what inspires you. A part of the university lifestyle is partying and with that comes plenty of opportunity to network, share your work with anyone willing to look and you’ll find people that want to help and support your development.