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Recently, Megan Bowers-Vette vowed to give just as much attention to her personal work as she does to her successful commercial business, and it’s paid off. Us, a brutally honest series of portraits she made of sexual abuse and rape survivors has been picked up by the Whangarei Art Museum, and has quickly developed a following.
“It’s been such a wild ride and an interesting complement to my commercial work,” she says. “I like pushing all that hard stuff that people don’t normally want to talk about. That’s one of the reasons behind Us – to force people to confront the issues.”
It’s an unexpected twist on the fashion photography Bowers-Vette normally shoots, but with her strong social conscience, she’s often felt conflicted about the issues within that industry.
Though she didn’t feel she could support the “heroin chic” look and lifestyle of the late 1990s, life and changing social attitudes have now brought her back to fashion, and she enjoys creating lush, organic images that convey a more holistic, ethical, and accepting aesthetic.
“I really like the whole no-Photoshop movement and the new wave of individuality,” she says. “I enjoy capturing a feeling of wildness and freedom, whereas when I was coming of age, fashion was very rigid. You had to fit into a mould, and now the mould is thankfully breaking.
She only works with ethical brands, and turns down jobs that don’t have a good ideological fit. She’s also not interested in supporting locally or globally exploitative industries.
“The future business-focused model is far more interesting to me,” she says. “I enjoy jobs where I can connect one-on-one with the subject and work with that person to craft something that really captures who they are. I like creating a real, emotive human connection.”
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