Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University. This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Meghan Boyle, a fourth year student at OCAD University, majoring in photography.
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In this issue Morgan and Meghan talk language in relation to gender roles, disrupting the patriarchy and the feminist gaze in photography.
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Who or what are your main inspirations?
Some of my main photographic inspirations would have to be Henri Cartier Bresson, Carrie Mae Weems, & Nan Goldin. As well as writers such as bell hooks, John Berger, & Allen Ginsberg.
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What drives you to work with that subject matter?
I think the idea of a female, or any other minority really, being the role of anything other than the muse or person in distress disrupts the patriarchy & I get a kick out of that.
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You speak often of the ‘female gaze’ in photography. What does that mean to you and how is that shown?
I like to think that I’m trying to propose the idea of a “female” or “feminist gaze” by presenting women in a new way, outside of the inherent sexualized and victimized role typically seen in media. I think it’s so important to me because for so long I felt that I did not have censorship or control over how my own body was being seen or portrayed, & I feel that’s a feeling both men and women have alike.
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Meghan Boyle, Projections, 2016
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What do you believe to be valuable in the idea of women taking photographs of other women and how does this subvert the typical male gaze? 
Women taking photos of other women opens up a new way of seeing, in my opinion. Not to say that every time a man photographs a woman or vice versa, they are being subjected; but by giving women the option to be both the artist & muse, we can be empowered by things outside of our looks and physical appearance or how men see us.
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How would you describe the aesthetic you choose to work in? 
I would say my aesthetic reflects my outlook on the world. I typically try to look for the positive side of things, hence the colour palette and serene lighting. But sometimes you can’t help the dark days or feeling down about things, which is why I tend to hint towards the darker side life through certain symbols & other implications.
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You have spoken before about having an intersectional feminist framework for your work, what does that mean to you and how does this come out in your work? 
I aim to create intersectional feminist work because I feel there is a big misrepresentation of what feminism is truly meant to be in mainstream media. As often as I can I try to address how the patriarchal & capitalist society effects both men and women of any demographic through creating idealistic or idealized living standards. In my current thesis work I am aiming to use language to create a piece that can speak to many different generations and subcultures.
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Meghan Boyle, The First Time, 2015
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You work a lot with film, what do you think the value is in working with film in an increasingly digital age?
Working in film is something I’ve been doing since I started taking photographs, there’s something about how film works as opposed to digital. I enjoy the idea that film photographs are one of the only ways you can create something personal without having to digitize it or share it over whichever social platform you choose. I also prefer grain over pixel.
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Besides photography, what other mediums do you work in? How does this influence your art practice?
I enjoy working with other mediums such as embroidery & printmaking, I find that these mediums can help me piece together my ideas in a tactile way without bombarding the viewer with too much information. I also work with collages quite a bit, they help me with my process & to subdue or narrow down my thoughts and ideas.
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What body of work are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on my thesis which is going to be a textile installation with photographs addressing language and gender roles. I’m also creating zines which are basically like monthly photo diaries. As well as a portfolio of editorials and still lifes.
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Meghan Boyle, PUSSY, 2016
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Where do you foresee your career path going? Who would you like to work with in the future?
I see my career path going many different ways, I’d like to try a lot of different things in this life but I’m hoping to someday to have my own publication that speaks on what I think are important issues and ways to live a more feminist and sustainable life. The list of people I’d like to work with is never ending, which I like.
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Are their any specific OCAD U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?
I wouldn’t say there are many that influenced my work visually. But some OCAD U Faculty such as Paul Dempsey from printmaking and Peter Sramek, and Simon Glass from photography really made my education about becoming a better artist and using my time in school to learn about how to translate and express my ideas through art in a meaningful way.
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Meghan Boyle, What You Don’t Have, 2016
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What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in photography?
My piece of advice to anyone who’d like to take up photography is to always always have your camera on you! Shoot everything that catches your eye, good and bad. It’s important to figure out your own eye and shooting style, figure out what you want your photographs to look like and say, if your photos aren’t unique to you then no one will care.
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See Meghan’s work at the

102nd Graduate Exhibition at OCAD University, May 3rd-7th.

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.

Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams

About the writer: Morgan is a fourth year photography student and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative spaces. She is the Art Director for The RUDE Collective, a student representative on the Photography Curriculum Committee and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.