Meaghan Ogilvie: Photography, Ecology, and the Female Body

In these uncertain times of ecological change, American photographer Meaghan Ogilvie seems to have found a subtle way to portray our relationship to nature through ethereal shots of bodies – mainly female – underwater.


“All the bright precious things fade so fast, and they don’t come back.” This quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald from The Great Gatsby could be Meaghan Ogilvie’s motto.


Ecology is one of the main causes driving Meaghan’s work and creativity. Recipient of several awards and recognitions, she was recently awarded first place at the Cairns Underwater Film Festival Photography Competition in Australia, an event that raised over $20,000 towards ocean conservation efforts.



The water imagery is at the forefront of her work: pools, lakes, and oceans engulf the photographic space. As a matter of fact, shooting underwater has enabled her to create a challenging environment and observe movement “free of gravity and restrictions”.


“Water started out as a familiar setting and has now led me on a path of investigation to understand the importance of it spiritually, psychologically and physically,” she told



In the western tradition, the term “nature” comes from the Latin natura, meaning birth. In Meaghan’s work, water embodies Mother Nature and turns into a nurturing liquid that, just like the female body, gives life.



Representing the earth as a woman or a mother is very common in many societies. But what Meaghan does here is portray a perfect symbiosis of the body with the environment. Utopian for some and inspiring for others, she wants us to see the vulnerable splendour of the living world:  “I chose to work with dancers for their natural grace and have them explore movement free of gravity. I gave them some direction before they dove in, but it was more beautiful to let things unfold naturally below the surface.”



Through this hymn to nature, Meaghan reconciles water and the female body, hoping to heighten public awareness towards earth’s precious water sources: “I hope to bring awareness to the beauty we may lose and support the ongoing efforts of many who work to preserve it. Bringing awareness to issues I believe are worth fighting for by using the human form to communicate experiences.”



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Words: Pauline Schnoebelen


Hashtags: #MeaghanOgilvie #photography #art #ecology #nature #water #environment


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