“It’s that chaotic solitude of being by yourself with your own thoughts, but never alone, that makes me most happy.” – Meghan
Photographer Meghan Hochgesang grew up completely immersed in the arts. “My mom is an interior designer,” she said, “And, my dad always had a camera.” Now, residing in Jasper, Indiana, Meghan continues to develop her own love for art and design working as a full time graphic designer for the past 7 years. And, lucky for Meghan, her creative outlet seems to be her favorite pastime- photography. “While I love graphic design, photography is just different for me,” said Meghan, “It comes easily and I love the interaction with my clients.” And, where does she draw her inspiration? “Everywhere, magazines, catalogs, blogs,” she said, “My desk is a constant tornado of clippings, receipts, and memory cards. I get so much inspiration from my clients themselves, though. I mean that’s why I’m hired, right? To capture a slice of their life?” She describes her ideal client as one who looks at photos that same way. “They just merely show up and live,” she said.
“I had several people tell me, ‘You know, you should really charge people to do this.’ I’d never for a second thought this could be a possibility for me,” – Meghan
Today, she describes her own relationship with photography as exploratory and explains she’s still trying to find the perfect niche. “I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and asking myself what type of shoots I enjoy most and yield the best results for me as a photographer,” she said, “Not every photographer is great at photographing all types and ages, which is what I’m doing now. In the past year, I think I’ve learned how to really slow down and take my time with shoots and to notice other things that other people may not.” She is inspired by a variety of people- those she’s never met and some whom are active in her life on a daily basis. “People like Diane von Furstenberg, who redefined fashion with a single (simple) dress,” she said, “Photographers like Jasmine Star, who are so selfless with their knowledge (photographers like her are few and far between.) My family inspires and supports me every day.”
And, what made her decide to pursue a career in the field? “To be honest, after doing some photos for free for various friends, I had several people tell me, ‘You know, you should really charge people to do this.’ I’d never for a second thought this could be a possibility for me,” she said, “After I shot my first big wedding that year (I’m forever indebted to that couple for trusting me, a photographer with NO wedding experience, to shoot their big day), I was bitten with the photo bug in a big way,” said Meghan.
“I am absolutely over the moon with this photograph,” said Meghan.
She photographed her favorite place she’s ever shot before she decided to work in the field of photography. “Really, very easy – Florence, Italy,” she said, “I studied abroad there and SO wish I looked at photography then like I do now. I have tons of photos that are actually great (can you believe I took 2 cameras for that entire trip? A Nikon Coolpix and my manual, black and white Pentax), but they could be SO much better. A return trip will definitely be happening.” And, what’s next up on her list of travel destinations? “Top of my list are Thailand, Turkey, Spain, Portland, the mountains of Colorado, and though I’ve been to Palm Springs before, a stay at The Parker is #1 on my bucket list,” she said, “It kind of depends on which opportunity presents itself first. In reality, my family is planning our sort-of-annual trip to St. John, USVI for this summer.”
Meghan is influenced by photographers including Bobbi + Mike (who inspired her to become a photographer) and Jasmine Star. “When I found Jasmine Star it was like Pandora’s box of photography knowledge,” she said, “She inspired my business and how I handle everything from lighting to my branding. And, currently, I have a huge photo-crush on Megan Wynn.” Meghan is most proud of capturing was taken at a wedding this past fall. “I was experimenting really,” she said, “First dances are really long and you end up with 75 versions of the same image, so I decided to turn off my flash and wing it. When I started editing this wedding (I knew it was a special one from the get-go), I went straight for this series because I hoped what I captured lived up to my vision and did it ever. I am absolutely over the moon with this photograph.”
And, where and when does Meghan find herself happiest? “I should say, ‘When I’m surrounded by my family (around the holidays, for sure) just enjoying each other,’” she said, “That does make me happy, endlessly happy. But, when I look back on past memories, what hangs in my head most is when I still lived in the city (Washington, DC, then Chicago) and I’d get up early and go for long walks, winding down streets, with a tea in my hand, and ended undoubtedly in a museum (DC) or Barneys and Anthropologie (Chicago). It’s that chaotic solitude of being by yourself with your own thoughts, but never alone, that makes me most happy.”
She noted another happy memory to be an international trip from this past summer. “I traveled to Amsterdam and Brussels with my boyfriend and after, met up with my family (I’m talking aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma) in Germany where we traveled all around the Alpine region and Munich,” she said, “All 3 countries were so different and it was great because my expectations for Germany were very low (I knew I’d love Amsterdam and Brussels) and I ended up loving every single second we were there. Being surprised is what exploring is all about, right?”
And, what type of exploring does Meghan find herself drawn to on the Internet? What are her favorite websites? “My daily must-read blogs are Cupcakes and Cashmere, Kendi Everyday, Look Linger Love, Design Sponge, Heart of Light, Veronica Loves Archie, Josh Premuda (because he’s cute), Oh Joy, and Dooce (and this doesn’t count the 40+ photography blogs I follow). As of late, it seems I do most of my shopping at JCrew.com. And Pinterest. Oh, the dark hole that is Pinterest.”
So, after starting her successful photography company and absolutely loving working to build her business, does she have any advice she’d like to share? “Above all else, be yourself,” she said, “When you work to hone in on your style, people will either flock to it, or run. And that’s ok. When you learn to stop trying to please everyone is when your true self will start to shine. Oh and be nice, too. People always remember kindness.”
Meghan Hochgesang Photography is based in the midwest, but Meghan is more than happy to travel for photography shoots! Contact Meghan here.
* Thank you, Meghan for sharing such beautiful images and your story with Nonsense & Sensibility!