Meet the Maker - Laura Meek


Can you introduce yourself...

Hello! I’m Laura Meek. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland and work as a freelance Photographer. I have been working as a photographer for nearly twelve years now. I got interested in my Dad’s old film camera when I was about 10 or so and the rest is history. I was raised in America but spent much of my childhood in Scotland visiting my Mum’s family until I finally relocated to Edinburgh and started over on this side of the pond after studying photography in the States and getting my feet wet in the industry over there. Prior to my move, you could usually find me on the side of a stage photographing music gigs or on long road trips exploring parts of America with friends if I wasn’t on the job. These days, I really enjoy getting around Scotland, especially the Isle of Skye and Highlands to get inspired, or wandering about Edinburgh: spending time in the vintage shops and film houses or having picnics on Calton Hill with a good book/company, or down at my studio in Leith. Most of my work revolves around fashion, portraiture and creative lifestyle commercial work. My background and training is in Fine Art film photography, and living in Scotland proves time after time as an incredible subject and background for creating personal series when I’m not on the job. I have been involved with Miller Harris for about two years now, and it’s been such a delight creating visual fragrant stories with them

What do you try to convey in your work?
I want to invite others to experience the world through my eyes, in a way they may never have considered before. Whether that is how light and space is treated, or the emotion and gesture of a subject is directed/instinctively captured, etc. I want to give my audience my honest perception, not just a plain documentation. When I take photographs, I want an authentic feeling and connection to come through; whether it be personal work or commercial. Creating photographs is my main means of communication: and in my heart, I want to find the best parts of people and places, so through my work, I want to convey a belief that beauty can be found everywhere if you look for it.

What advice would you give someone starting out in photography? 
Become prolific in your personal discoveries and your efforts in the craft. Spend time dedicating yourself to seeing rather than looking. Ever since beginning art school eleven years ago, and even further back beyond those years, I have kept a camera with me every day in case I see something in passing I want to document and connect with visually; I find it helps to maintain a consistent personal quality to not only the day-to-day, but eventually to commercial work. It’s foundational to develop your own unique vision. Give the world a perception that hasn’t been experienced or curated by anyone else. Become confident in what you are doing creatively and don’t be afraid to reach out and engage with others to strengthen your skills as well as broaden your social scope in the creative world. You never know who you may cross paths with by getting out there. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. Also, don’t be afraid to fail every so often, that’s how we grow and develop our repertoire. Part of your job as a working photographer is selling ideas, so keep a sharp imagination and a go-getter mentality. Be determined and believe in what you are doing. Eventually, the right people will notice and your consistent outpouring will pay off over time. You really do have to spread your net wide and work hard in this industry to see results, but they are there for the taking if you are willing to stay committed to finding them. I would be very careful to not depend on others to lead the way in trends. Life is too short to copy others. Be brave creatively, and most importantly, be honest to yourself. The bottom line, however, is that you should pursue photography because it is a way to share with the world the way you experience life, and the rest will follow.

Where is the most unusual place you’ve found inspiration?
 
The Isle of Skye is probably the main source of my bank of inspiration. It’s such a bizarre otherworldly location. It has nothing to do with the industry and yet sits on this planet as a raw element packed with a special kind of energy that I believe is invaluable to my creative development within the industry. Removing myself from the city and placing myself in such a place has actually turned into an annual late-winter retreat. I always return home full of new ideas and a clear head for forward-thinking. Perhaps it’s also to do with the island air.

Shooting our Brighton Rock campaign was your first trip to Brighton - how did you find it? 
Brighton has always been a mysterious place to me prior to visiting on this campaign trip. I have hyper-romanticised it in my mind and foreseen it to be quite the magical seaside town without doing much research or google images etc....My only impression of the place was knowing it’s home to the incomparable, Nick Cave and my favourite tattoo artist, Patrick Bates, but I always wanted to keep it pure in my imagination and experience it first hand, and boy did Brighton deliver and more. To be on the job and take in a new city all at once was incredibly stimulating and inspiring. Everything was brand new visually and allowed for me to create in a completely pure connection. In short, it was novel. Which I think added to the charm of the Brighton Rock campaign. With the careful art direction of the Black Rabbit team and beautiful Miller Harris narrative, I truly think this was an assignment that will forever be one of the most unique and memorable for me. I loved the place so much that I’ve gone back another two times this summer and have plans for another visit this month when I’m down for the exhibition!

You’re exhibiting your work in our Canary Wharf Store Gallery, can you talk us through this?
Leading up to the Brighton Rock campaign shoot, I was given the opportunity by Miller Harris to produce a personal series in tandem with the official campaign to be exhibited in Canary Wharf as part of the launch for Brighton Rock. I have felt nothing but love and support for my work from Miller Harris, and I was incredibly honoured to be asked as this will be my first London exhibition to date. It’s a really special project to have taken on especially to be told to just respond to the surroundings as I would naturally, which allowed me to really create in a way that felt authentic. The collection is a series of images that represents my instinctive connection with the location, a study, if you will, of light, line and colour that caught my attention in the quieter areas of the Palace Pier. My life long passion and main means of photography is on film. For a little insider, the Brighton Rock campaign was shot exclusively on Kodak film, so to keep in tune aesthetically, I shot the exhibition collection on Kodak film using various 35mm and medium format analogue cameras(Pentax 67, Rolleiflex, Contax G2 and Leica M2). It was a real treat to create the collection how I love best. The exhibition will launch Thursday 19th of September and will be viewable during the open hours of the Canary Wharf store.

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It’s really hard to choose just one, but for years I have found myself returning to an old hardback book filled with essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson. His outlook on the natural world was spot on and it’s a good reminder to appreciate the levels of connection between the human experience and nature.

Is there a smell that holds significance to you or reminds you of a particular point in your life?
​I don’t actually have one in particular, but I really enjoy walking around a city and catching fleeting drifts of perfumes and colognes that have been worn by various people in my life past and present and having little glimmers of their memories and impressions throughout my life. 

Strangely though, as I think about it, the smell of coal-burning fires in the cold air does bring back various childhood memories visiting Scotland.

If your life was a fragrance what would it be called?
​Une Révérence Curieuse, which translates in English as “A Curious Reverence”

What’s your favourite thing to do when visiting London?

You can usually find me wandering about the Shoreditch area. I love the atmosphere and strong individual fashion sense of East London and consider it to be quite the spiritual home when I visit. I can spend loads of time in and out of the vintage shops, cafes, bookstores, as well as places like Close Up film house. I also really enjoy placing myself somewhere and letting spontaneity take control and stumble upon new things without a plan. It’s endless! You can almost always count on me visiting the Tate Modern paired with a picnic in a new green area anytime I find myself in the city. I’ve actually just recently discovered Peckham Levels/Bold Tendencies, and I think this might be a new haunt for my visits back to London.