When I decided to dedicate my Wednesday’s to the wonderful women of the world, I immediately knew who I wanted to interview first. I have known Megan Mahan since we were 6-years-old (and she’ll never let you forget that, trust me). Growing up, I’ve always been inspired by her. There has never been a moment where she didn’t exude this awesome fearless vibe and I can’t ever remember a time where she didn’t work hard for what she wanted. That’s what I think is so friggin rad about her and I’m not just saying that because she’s my best friend. I’ve worked with Megan on a ton of projects growing up. In fact, she was one of the major players in getting my ass in the direction of media. When were younger, we used to try to ‘copy’ the video’s her brother and his friends made. We would do create/record skits and edit them, the whole shebang. She’s always full of energy when it comes to her work and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of her. Let’s meet Megan now, shall we?
Current Location: Bayonne NJ
Degree: BA In Photography and New Media & Graphic Design
Alma Mater: Felician University
Job Title(s)/Company: Financial Clerk- Sea Safety Int’l
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve always enjoyed art because I felt like my entire life I was never meant for routine. I always did well in school but it was a hassle for me to wake up every morning to go and endure the day. I hate structure and I hate systems, so for me, art was a way to escape that. I knew I could never work a 9-5 and truly be happy unless it involved some sort of outlet. I always felt better behind a camera because I was able to create my own reality instead of the one set up for me by society. This is exactly why I’m pursuing art and trying to become my own boss by owning my own business.
Tell us about your business.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “business” just yet. I haven’t worked out any detail or logistics as of now. People contact me and ask them to take photos for them and I get paid for it. I mean some would say “sure that is a business” but for me, it’s just experience for now. I’m still learning a lot in this business so I’m not so sure exactly what goes into starting one on your own. I have a great mentor and I’m always picking his brain, but I definitely would say that I’m not 100% ready to go completely solo yet.
Was there a specific experience that inspired you to start your business/brand/channel.
I always wondered “what’s the most realistic way I can make money taking photos” And let’s face it, not all artists are actually going to become artists. I mean sure you may have exhibits and showcases or work on awesome projects, but how many of us are actually going to make money, enough money to live off of, doing just that. This is when I came to the sad reality that I may have made a mistake choosing this as a major/career path. So wedding/event photography was where I ended up. I’ve worked in two different studios since graduating. I like seeing the look on people’s faces when you show them the finished product. It’s a great feeling when they share your work on social media or when they use one of your photos as a profile picture. I think that’s definitely enough inspiration to keep going. Just using your work to make others feel something strong. So, I think feeling that for the first time was what inspired me to start shooting on my own because then I could really say that this is mine, they feel strongly about MY work. When you work for someone else you don’t have the ability to really call it your own.
What were some of your past jobs and what have you learned/ taken away from them?
I worked for Richard B Flores Photography and also Torrin Photography. I’d definitely say that working for two studios that have to completely different styles showed me how diverse you can get with photography but still produce great work. I mean if you have a certain style it doesn’t mean your work isn’t good, it’s just different. I really like the idea of that. As far as learning goes, I’m always learning so anything really that I’ve done or worked on for those studios I considered it “learning.”
What have been some of your biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work and how did you overcome them?
I am probably speaking for 98, if not 100% of artists when I say: artist’s block. It’s one thing to shoot couples and people because you’re shooting poses and capturing beautiful moments through candids, but I’d say trying to work on your own projects is such a challenge. Honestly overcoming them is a process for me, I need to listen to really sad music and get really lost in myself and figure out how do I get out, and that’s usually what I base the project off of.
What motivates you and where do you get your inspiration?
Relating back to the previous question, I think just seeing people’s reaction to my work is highly motivating. As far as inspiration, I base my work hugely off of life experiences, whether good or bad. So honestly anything big that happens in my life I sort of use as inspiration.
What’s your favorite type of photography/style?
I’m honestly not even sure. I really like photojournalistic styles of shooting, It feels like storytelling, but I also do like to stage a lot of my work, like I said earlier it’s kind of like creating your own reality.
What does success look like to you?
Success is being genuinely happy with what you’re doing and where you are. Plain and simple.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Definitely not still working full time in finance.
Who are some women that inspire you?
Honestly, any woman that doesn’t try too hard at anything, ones that don’t try to fit any kind of group/stereotype society created for women. Ones that are just content being themselves instead of putting on some sort of show for the outside, those are the women who inspire me. Too many women have this misconception that they have to be something like they have to be a good housewife or a stay at home mom, or they need to be these in your face, don’t let you talk during argument feminists. Ones who don’t fall into those stereotypes I guess. We don’t have to be anything. I think that’s the important part, we can just exist in society and do our thing like everyone else. People don’t accept that nowadays but for the women doing it without the dramatics, you guys inspire me.
Any advice for other women out there?
Just do your thing and be happy. Literally, nothing else in life will matter if you aren’t happy.