We were introduced to Megan Hemsworth on a Surf Sistas Longboard retreat where she was our photographer for the day; a bundle of lively enthusiasm whose smile is infectious and wetsuit collection the envy of us all!
As part of our 'You, Me & the Sea' campaign we simply had to ask Megan more about her connections with the sea and life as an ocean photographer.
Tell us about your connection with the sea?
My connection to the sea started as a childhood holiday destination, since I was born my family and I would come to Cornwall as often as possible.
My school days were spent competing as a swimmer, I LOVE the escape water creates, even when your swimming up and down lanes of people you can’t help but feel totally at-one with yourself. It's that feeling that I love and crave.
It was actually my photography that brought me back to the sea. Although I would love mindless swimming in the waves I always thought that that was all I'd get from the ocean.
I was wrong… photographing the sea sparked something within;
What sparked your passion for being an ocean photographer?
After a childhood of endless swimming/bodyboarding/competing with the water I went on to study Fashion Photography at Falmouth university. The idea of studying a subject I love by the ocean couldn’t have been a better match. It wasn’t long before I realised studios and plain backgrounds weren’t for me.
“What images do you want to create” I remember that question so clearly, it was the moment I realised you can’t just live life ticking boxes. You have to do what stimulates your creativity not do the same old expected route.
So I chose to focus my photography work on surf lifestyle. After all my answer to the question was “Roxy” the campaign images for that brand have inspired me and still continue to inspire me. Colour, Water, Women, Surf, Joy, the buzzwords I feel when I see their images. I wanted to create the same feelings but in Cornwall. There is so much beauty to be shared around our coastlines and that was a goal I was happy to try and accomplish.
Where’s your favourite place to embrace the sea and why?
I’m going to have to just say Cornwall as it's by far my favourite place to shoot. To narrow it down to a specific beach… well I can’t but I do spend the majority of my in water sessions between Gwithian and Newquay. They all offer so much. I love the crisp cold water and the breathtaking coastlines. As we all know the sea conditions are never the same, always offering me new waves to shoot. Cornwall keeps me on my toes, checking where's best to go at what time of day and matching the weather.
What’s your fondest sea memory?
Well it has to be the night I went on a solo photography mission to the beach to photograph the sunset ( something I do a lot of ). I was one of three in the waves that night, one girl, one guy and myself. I chose to photograph the girl ( my now lovely friend Jess ) as I always love to create content showcasing the females in Cornwall. To cut a long story short Jess worked her magic and "that guy” who was in the sea is now my boyfriend. So there we go… my most cringeworthy but favourite sea memory. The wider message being that I just love how the ocean brings people together and it's a real form of socialising. Any friendship made in the water, is always so special.
If you had to pick one, which has been your favourite photo captured in or by the sea?
‘You, me and the sea’…who or what would be your ‘you’ and why?
Awesome question um, well I have to say my camera because that really is the case. When I’m in the sea without it, I miss it and when I have it I feel safe in the water. Strange considering it's a big awkward heavy object that could potentially really hurt but I love it.
Photography is a massive comfort to me, when I look through the lens I become the camera ( another epically cringe sentence, but so true ) I forget everything and just watch what's in front of me.
You, the sea and the future…what does the future hold for you and the sea?
The near future holds some exciting trips abroad shooting with Surf Sistas, a job I love as it's all about getting girls together and into the water. My businesses future I hope to keep expanding on my professionalism. I have totally self taught the business side to being freelance and every year is a great milestone for me to see where there is potential for improvements. I will soon have an online shop up and running , this is so exciting for me and is something I never thought I'd be the owner of.
Which of our latest collection would be your ultimate sea companion and why?
Absolutely without a doubt would have to be the Noon Tides, it's basically my photos in a blanket. I love the 3 colours not only would I be all cozy and warm once I get out of the sea but the colours of the ocean would still be right beside me. Also sometimes if I camp in the van ready to get into the sea for first light it can be freezing. So extra warmth is a must on those cold nights.
Buy prints: https://www.meganhemsworth.com/shop
Photography workshops: https://www.meganhemsworth.com/workshop
Photo credits: Megan Hemsworth, Philly Lewis, Nathan Benham