The Ralliers is a collection of interviews with female creators we admire. We look for women who make hard choices in exchange for self-defined lives. You'll leave these stories with wisdom, comfort and beauty too.
I'm primarily based in the wine region of Northern California, and part-time in Los Angeles. I’ve been a professional photographer running my own business for 25 years. I’ve done that as a single, and very proud, mom of a son who started working at a 3-Michelin star restaurant last year while still in high school.
Food and wine play an integral part of life in Napa Valley. The world surrounding that could be described as a celebration of the good life, which is what I’ve been photographing most of my career.
Even as a teenager I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but grew up in a home that discouraged pursuing creative work professionally.
How have you broken with traditions or norms created by other people in exchange for a self-defined life?
Even as a teenager I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but grew up in a home that discouraged pursuing creative work professionally. My passion for it never went away though, and while I don't have a photo-school background I was able to take a few photography-related classes, and found willing mentors and opportunities along the way. I started out young in a very male-dominated industry, but I’ve had a longevity that many other photographers don't achieve. I've supported a family from the craft - and my love for it has never waned.
Tell us about your work.
My work embraces authentic moments of natural beauty and I have an organic, instinctual approach. I’ve always been inspired by light and color and a sense of place. I seek out the moments-between-moments; those precious times when someone lets their guard down, is lost in their thoughts, or forgets the camera is there, and the color-between-colors, those practically indescribable hues that mother nature creates. Aside from the honor of raising my son, photography has been my life’s work.
What do you most want us to know about living a creative life?
I hope we all have some source of creativity in our lives and I don't tend to label myself as a "creative." To be successful in my profession, it's as much about being a strong entrepreneur and running a good business as it is creating images.
We’re all the creators of our lives. Earning a living as a professional photographer has allowed me to express myself creatively and be independent, but there’s real hustle. For many years I considered myself a freelance photographer, now I acknowledge and honor myself as a long term small business owner.
Tell us about your style of living.
At my best it's being deliberate in celebrating the special people and moments in my life, slowing down to enjoy my garden or gathering with people I've known since my childhood for dinner under the stars. Other times it's full days of finishing edits to meet a deadline and packing gear to get to the next shoot - it's always a balance.
I appreciate simple things done well, and I’m attracted to the best. My home is sacred space to me but I also have a teenager, so there’s balance. Things are beautiful and treasured and interesting, but nothing is too precious. This is much like the work - there can be so many beautiful moments, but they're also fleeting.
What do you most want other women to know?
There's space for you in whatever field you may choose to pursue. Create a support team for yourself, and be supportive of others in your field.
I was with girlfriends the other night and we were talking about my career and where I want to go with it. My friend said casually but confidently, “Well you know you’re not going to fail”. It took me by surprise because I would never have said that to myself, but I knew she was right. If you’re fully committed, open, and if you’re all in, you’re probably going to succeed.
What are you searching for?
Usually perfect natural light, but really I'm seeking ways to tell visual stories and bring an artistic sense into my images. And I'm perpetually seeking a better system of organization!
What brings you ease?
My yoga practice is as simple as can be. While the water boils for tea I do three very gentle and long sun salutations. While the tea seeps I watch the morning sky change color outside my kitchen window as I do a little variety of poses; supported trikonasana against the cabinets, natarajasana and vrksasana in front of the kitchen sink, or whatever my practice inspires. It’s a small but powerful way to start the day.
Something you've just discovered.
Over my career, I've always focused on still images but have recently gotten interested in motion with a vintage, analog Super-8 camera. It’s so much fun to shoot with and it’s teaching me a new ways of seeing.
Share a good read, watch, or listen.
I’ve been watching the new show “Julia” about Julia Child. She had strong ties to Napa Valley and I’ve gotten to see many of the original photographs her husband took of her. My favorite thing to cook now is omelette aux fine herbes. It’s so simple but satisfying.
Something you've recently created.
Recently I've been designing photo books around various projects. The layout and flow and connection of the images creates a rich story. I love figuring out the color, texture, fabric and design of the cover so it speaks to the photographs inside it. Holding a book of photos with a silk velvet, beautiful linen or rugged canvas cover, and turning the pages of the soft fine-art paper is a very different experience than looking at photos on a computer or phone.
A gift you gave someone.
I'm always getting creative little gifts for my niece. She's 7 years old, very bright and curious and I can tell she's going to be in charge one day. There's no one I know more excited about receiving a gift and I see how they fuel her imagination.
My yoga teacher told me once that I was an introvert faking it in an extrovert world. It’s one of the reasons I was drawn to photography as a teenager. There's something about being behind a camera that makes you feel you’re hidden and protected, but still part of the experience. Becoming a photographer was something I wanted so deeply, but I was also scared.
Being a photographer is about learning to see, but it also gives the creator a voice. Photographs can speak for us when we can’t. Photography has empowered me; there’s a confidence in my abilities and a respect I have for my own experience that I’m not sure I would have otherwise. Surprisingly, photography has given me confidence in my voice, so this thing that I used to hide behind has turned the tables on me and pushed me into the spotlight sometimes. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with that. But, that’s who I am now.
Meg is a California photographer known for capturing unfussy elegance with sensitivity and authenticity. Inspired by light, color and a sense of place, her commercial work can be seen here and her wedding work here.
P.S. The pieces in our stories are always authentically picked. When purchased, we sometimes receive compensation in return. Thank you for supporting!
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