I first met Meghan Brondos a few years ago when she and her friends went camping on our farm. Actually, I didn’t meet her because it rained the entire time (because, what’s camping without a downpour?). What really happened was that I said something along the lines of “Honey, I think the campers are here” to Alan, who suited up in muck boots and flannels to go show everyone around. I merely followed her on Instagram.
I’ve always loved how photography allows you to see the world through someone else’s eyes. That experience is amplified when it’s your own world, your own farm. To me, what I tend to first notice is so often a list of chores: the roof that must be fixed, the firewood that needs to be stacked, the ducks that want to be fed. To someone else, it’s straight-up magic.
Meghan is particularly good at finding those moments of magic – the way the sun hits the trees, or how the light streams in through a window. While I may have gotten a glimpse of that magic when I first followed her, I suppose that’s all I really got – I didn’t get to truly know her until now.
The photos below are from someone else’s farm on a different day with a little less rain, but I’m sure you’ll find them just as magical. I hope you enjoy both her work and her story.
“Meghan Brondos is a former professional-turned-hobbyist photographer and the Director of Brand & Creative for a non-profit organization. She believes in the healing power of a proper cup of coffee, that hell must be one eternal brainstorming meeting, and that her dog is the canine version of herself (spunky, discerning, and capable of delivering the most withering of stares). When not working or delivering saucy and unwanted commentaries, Meghan can be found at the climbing gym or on the disc golf course.”
Okay okay, the regular bio deets on my life are: I’m 28, born in WI before moving 6-7 times before the age of ten. My family and I moved to Canada when I was nine and my parents still live there. I skipped 4th grade. I went to a boarding school for high school, which sounds very fancy but I assure you was not. I didn’t know entirely what I wanted to do with my life so I went to the first (ahem, and only) college I applied to.
As a child I swore I would never get married. As a teenager/ young adult, I swore I would never get engaged while still in college. I got married 3.5 months after I graduated at the wee age of 21. After years of making poor decisions, either I had a stroke of luck or I was saving up all those opportunities in order to make what is arguably the only good decision I’ve ever made in my personal life: marrying my husband. If we were an atom, he’d be the nucleus to my electrons.
I got my degree in media design and started out as a graphic designer. Shortly after graduating from college in 2013, I started a photography business which I ran until I couldn’t go to one. more. wedding. All of our couples were great, but it became too much running the business while working full time. Since then, I’ve been enjoying having my nights and weekends to myself.”
Like many creative people, I’ve always been this way.
Some of my deepest and most enduring memories are, at first glance, nothing spectacular. Boring and insignificant, even. With big, staring eyes, I soaked in everything around me. I recall being fascinated by how different a marker felt when dragged across new surfaces, the textures feeling soothing in my hand. And I distinctly remember my father pushing a loaded dolly up the metal ramp of a U-Haul truck when I was seven years old. This was the third of six moves (or seven, depending on how you count it) that I’d experience before the age of ten.
Sponge-like, I drew in the transience and tumult, folding it into my small self. In kindergarten and first grade, anger consumed me until blood poured out of my nose. By third grade, I feverishly prayed every single night after being tucked in, “Please don’t let me get teary-eyed, a lump in my throat, or get the butterflies”. I was bursting into tears at seemingly random moments at school. I was getting regular pits in my stomach. I was anxiety-ridden and desperate to keep it all tidy and locked away.”
There were a handful of “first loves” as a child that have remained with me in some way – spending every possible minute outside, drawing for hours while lying on the living room floor, hunkering down somewhere to binge-read. From the very beginning, I have been drawn to the external quiet that can’t exist in my own mind. So while the medium has changed over the years, the need has stayed the same – stillness.
Now as a bona fide adult, I can’t fully explain what draws me in. A stillness, yes, but it’s also a space in my mind that I can’t conjure up and access on my own. When I walk with camera in hand, I’m open and closed and empty and full all at once. Each captured scene of not-so-special stillness calms the crashing in my brain. If I see something I’m drawn to and don’t photograph it, I have to go back – a rare compulsion I don’t rebel against.
Finding Stillness is easiest in new places. Novel people, styles, smells, colors, vegetation, and languages make it easy to find myself submerged in it. The challenge, however, is the cliché of all clichés, taking note of the Stillness in my everyday life. As a self-described hurricane, it’s too easy to sweep in Stillness with Chaos: the crocheted blanket I snagged from my Nana’s when we moved her into memory care, the glowing oven that bakes pies in a dark kitchen, the dog butt that presses into my thigh as I type this.
One could say my work is boring or “been done before”. But to me it’s necessary. It’s the vitamin my body doesn’t produce but requires. The stabilizing chemical compound.”
Meghan, your work is anything but boring. I hope it brings you the stillness you seek. I can certainly feel it in your work.
To the photography lovers out there, Meghan’s images were shot on medium format film on her Plaubel Makina 67.
You can find Meghan’s work at mbrondos.com