Meghan Steenstra

Artist Statement

Through photography, I capture everyday life in progress by picturing intimate moments in individual lives. While they might be doing a job or completing a task, my photographs allow the viewer to see into the lives of others and understand them more. The goal of my portraits is to invoke a connection between the viewer and the person in the photograph, by catching the individual or group of people, in the middle or beginning of a process.

I am inspired to create this type of art because I have always been shown the final product in life; the things that people have worked towards. However, all the moments before the finished product are often overlooked or unseen, and I find that the process is so much more interesting. It is when people think that others aren’t paying attention to them that they are genuinely themselves.

In my piece “Waiting in the Smoke,” I picture the seconds before a ballet performance when the dancers are gathering their thoughts. In these moments they are simply taking a breath before they present the final product. The audience doesn’t usually acknowledge this time because they are focused on the beautiful ballet they will see, but it is necessary for the dancers. In my piece “The Beginning of the Day,” the server is taking a moment before the start of his shift. There is a brief interlude of peace before the chaos of the day begins.

All of my pictures are moments that aren’t usually pointed out or talked about. Hopefully, the viewer can see and understand from my art that there is so much happening that we don’t always pay attention to. I hope that the more we know about the things we can’t see or understand, the more empathy we can have for each other.