Inaugural Institute of Arts Community Engagement Prize winner Megan's 'labour of love' sees her gain commission
Her work to highlight disability by taking photographs of people with prosthetic limbs has seen photography student Megan Ogley not only graduate with a top award but be commissioned to carry on work that has become her passion.
The University of Cumbria graduate from Pontefract worked with charities Steel Bones and PACE who introduced Megan to members of the prosthetics community. She encouraged them to share their stories and model for her with hundreds agreeing to take part.
Her exhibition, called Capability, showed a series of images depicting the remarkable strength, capabilities and power of individuals who had either been born without a limb or had lost one.
Along with colleagues, she exhibited at the ‘Freerange’ London showcase and was subsequently invited to continue her project after being commissioned by Manchester-based Beast prosthetics.
As well as graduating at Carlisle Cathedral, Megan was awarded the inauguralInstitute of Arts Community Engagement Prize: “This has become a labour of love for me.”
“I am passionate about communicating the fundamental normality and everyday competence of people with disabilities.”
“Although the people portrayed lacked a limb they didn’t consider themselves as less able than others.”
With case studies coming forward nationwide, a successful bid for support from the university’s Hadfield trust travel award allowed Megan to travel far and wide to meet people from a variety of backgrounds.
Colleagues and academics have been inspired by her work.
Rob Sara, lecturer in photography at the Institute of the Arts, said. “By wanting to champion and empower her subjects, she has created a poignant and powerful photographic series of great maturity and sensitivity.”
“Months of dedication and professionalism have seen a complex collaborative process evolve between a photographer and volunteers throughout the country, who wanted to join the project. What more could a university wish for, than to see a photography graduate, make meaningful, thoughtful work, whilst engaging with and contributing to society for the better of all our understanding?”
And while the project has served its’ original purpose, for Megan it has made a lasting impression.
“For myself, the project has been incredible; I have had the opportunity to meet new people, do the work I love and make new friends.”
She’s now considering taking an MA in photography and intends coming back to Cumbria.