Meghan is a New York-based photographer whose work focuses on portraiture and narrative. She graduated in 2019 with a BFA in advertising photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
After growing up in rural New York and being encouraged to draw and paint from a young age, she found that photography spoke most to her need to connect the physical and her world. Most of her current work involves investigating the dualities of small-town America, and her personal family dynamics, including mother-daughter relationships. She is also interested in finding the curious and exploring the uncomfortable.
Sleep Above the Sea
The project explores the emotional ripple effects of the double murder of my cousin Lena, and her best friend Stine Sofie in May 1997 in Kristiansand, Norway. It explores my family’s subsequent broken relationship with a sense of home and the healing process of their small seaside town.
I started the project with the intention of making a book for my uncle, who carries the weight of his lost daughter with him- after showing him a book dummy that I made two years ago I knew it was worth pursuing. It’s also for his surviving daughter Naja, who grew up under the shadow of his loss. I spent time making images with her for this book because a big part of Lena lives on through her.
To me, Scandinavian culture has always been warm and inviting on the outside until you realize that it’s cold like the sea and hard like the rocks that break the surface of the earth. I grew up going there every couple of years to spend time with family. One day I was with my grandmother’s best friend, and I told her that I loved her. She looked at me and said, “No you do not.” She then told me that when they say I love you in Norwegian, it’s for your one and only, and no one else. They don’t have enough words in their language to say I love you in the ways that I know-how. I always thought after this that Norway must be a lonely place to feel complete love and loss like my uncle does.
The images speak to the air around his house, the neighborhood where she grew up, the lake she swam in. Every time I visit the air is simultaneously thick with grief and the joy of the people living there who have forgotten. These images are quiet moments between me and my family members, shared glances, trips to our favorite places, picked flowers before funerals, and small efforts towards healing. There are pieces of memories in images from my family archive and public domain images. Together they show the efforts that we make to heal together.
To me, the town feels like someone took a big breath and is still holding it, waiting for relief. This book is an exhale.
To view more of Meghan Marin’s work please visit her website.