Ep 184: Documentary style portrait photography with special guest Rowena Meadows

We chat to documentary-style photographer Rowena Meadows. She loves photographing mess, chaos, joy, connection, togetherness, and  the frustrations of parenthood. She says that her work focuses on finding the astounding beauty of the ordinary.

A former psychologist, Rowena is now an award-winning photographer who has placed second in 2017’s Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers (documentary), first place in the International Documentary Family Awards (humour category), and second place Australian photography awards (documentary). Rowena is primarily a self taught photographer based in Melbourne.

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Show notes

Above: Rowena Meadows

Even as a child, Rowena remembers being driven to understand people’s’ stories. This passion for understanding human behaviour eventually led her to become a psychologist. Although she no longer works in this field, Rowena’s innate desire
to make sense of individual and relational behaviour is evident in the style of her documentary work. This approach has led her to place second in 2017’s Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers (documentary), first place in the International Documentary Family Awards (humour category), and second place Australian photography awards (documentary).

Rowena is primarily a self taught photographer and credits much of her knowledge about family photojournalism to her idol and mentor, Kirsten Lewis. Based in Melbourne with her family, Rowena has been shooting whole day sessions with families documenting their authentic stories for the last three years.

She loves photographing mess, chaos, joy, incongruence, connection, togetherness, the frustrations of parenthood, loud moments and contemplative ones. Her work is about helping families to recognise what she wholeheartedly sees as the astounding beauty of the ordinary.

Awards:

Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers 2017 (Documentary/Photojournalism) – 2nd and 8th place.

Clique Photographer of the Year 2016 – finalist

Clique Summer Challenge Winner – 2016

Clique Open Challenge Winner – 2017

Australian Photography Awards 2017 – 2nd place Documentary Category.

Australian Photography Awards 2017 – 3rd place Portrait Category.

Documentary Family Awards (international) 2017 – Judges choice winner, 1st place (humour category), 2nd place (water category), finalist (environmental portrait category).

Topics covered include:

  • What made Rowena leave a “safe” career as a psychologist to become a photographer
  • The importance of the “watch and wait” approach
  • Finding the beauty in the chaos
  • How to blend in as a documentary photographer
  • The difference between a “real” and a posed moment
  • Rowena’s go to lens and camera settings to nail the shot.
  • What does a “day in the life session” look like.

Links:
www.dayinyourlifeproject.com.au
www.instagram.com/dayinyourlifeproject
www.facebook.com/dayinyourlifeproject

Quotes:
Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like. David Alan Harvey
The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. Dorothea Lange

Movies
Amelie
Finding Vivian Maier

Books
Documentary Family Photography Handbook. Kirsten Lewis

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