We Are MA: Megan Thomas, MA Photography
Megan Thomas graduated from MA Photography in 2019. We catch up with her to discuss how her practice developed while studying and what she’s up to now.
What drove you to study MA Photography?
I completed my undergraduate degree in Museum and Exhibition Design and following that worked for a couple of years doing some practical graphic design. Photography had been a hobby for several years but I had never had any formal teaching in the subject, so when I decided that I wanted to pursue it as a potential career, this felt like the right path for me to take.
I chose NUA as it offered part-time study, allowing me time to develop my skills, but also because it has a very creative and innovative environment.
Can you tell us a bit about your practice?
I am a landscape photographer working predominantly in experimental printmaking. I love to use both traditional and unconventional printing methods to bring natural materials and photographs together.
I am fascinated by the different properties of natural materials and how they can be used to create tactile and unique photographic prints.
Where I can, I also enjoy using materials from the place that my photographs depict, so creating a tangible connection to that landscape.
Why is your practice important to you?
I love being able to work so closely with the natural environment. I have a great respect for it and being able to explore it visually with my camera really helps me understand and appreciate the complexity of the natural world.
It is important to me that my actions do not negatively impact upon the landscapes I engage with in any way. One of the drivers for my investigations into photographic printmaking is to try to find ways to be creative without having a harmful impact upon the environment.
Unfortunately, there are many traditional photographic processes that use harsh or toxic chemicals – any single change I can make that uses less of these substances is a positive one.
Looking back, did your practice grow or change in a way that you did not expect?
My entire practice changed completely during my time at NUA, in a way that I could never have foreseen but am incredibly grateful for.
Originally I was a much more traditional landscape photographer and I never made prints. Being pushed to think inventively and to explore outside of my comfort zone proved to be exactly what I needed and as a result I now work almost exclusively in experimental printmaking.
What did you most enjoy about your time at NUA?
The chance to meet with students from other courses. Being able to discuss our practices with each other was a great way to learn and created a friendly community across the MA courses.
What have you been working on since leaving NUA?
Inventing! I left NUA with so many ideas about expanding my practice and I’ve been starting to explore these ideas through lots of creation and experimentation. As my practice has changed so drastically, I am currently reworking my entire portfolio to better represent my new work.
A cyanotype print of mine has recently been selected to appear in a handmade book of prints from around the world, made to celebrate World Cyanotype Day and I am very excited to see the final results.