If there is one creative medium that reigns supreme, it is that of the photographed image and tools of the trade for photographer, Brandee Meier. Capturing beauty is now a daily occurrence for Brandee who began her photography career straight out of High School.
“I knew what I wanted to do. I was always drawn to the arts, I was never a great painter but I loved photography and working in the darkroom. So I took the advice of my photography teacher and went straight into the industry,” she says.
Like many of the creative arts, poorly paid and overworked when you are starting out, Brandee found herself in the beauty industry when commissioned by News Magazines to shoot beauty products and fashion flat lays for a new title.
“It just grew from there”, explains Brandee. “I loved working with the products and I was good at it, so that lead to advertising, makeup and model shoots”.
But while the idea of ‘capturing’ beauty is one thing, ‘editing’ beauty is another.
“There has been a lot said about Photoshop. It’s a great tool when used responsibly but as with everything, often in the hands of just a few controlling editors, it can change the way society thinks about beauty”.
“Women in particular I find have a skewed view on how they should appear in photography while men, on the other hand, are generally more pragmatic when they sit for their portraits.”
Brandee’s decades of experience have allowed her to view directly down the lens at beauty. And to understand one of its truths.
“To me beauty is directly related to confidence. The more open, honest and confident people are when they are being photographed somehow translates into beauty for me. I’m not talking about cockiness or being overconfident, just a quiet confidence and not being afraid to connect with the camera. This can make people appear more beautiful to me”.
And while photography is a visual medium, Brandee places just as much emphasis on listening. Especially to her growing portraiture business. Meeting people, listening to their story, understanding their truth, capturing their essence.
“I love meeting people, everyone has a story to tell of a life lived, some are enjoyable stories and some are heartbreaking. I just love to listen, its how I learn about someone’s essence”.
And so what does the photographer photograph for pleasure? The same as you and I, travel and family.
“I love photographing my nieces and documenting their journey’s through life. As they move into the teenage years and into adulthood you see the inhibition kick in. When they are little they love their image, somewhere along the line that changes and that confidence is eroded.
I wish it stayed forever”.
Brandee Meier is photographer at owner of Brandee Meier Photography.