In the Studio with Miranda Meyer
Miranda Meyer was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa. She began her photography career as a young girl, taking pictures of the family cats with a 110 Instamatic. She bought her first real 35mm camera when she was 15, with money she had earned de-tasseling corn. She majored in art and photography at the University of Iowa. Her favorite course was one in which she and her classmates walked around studying trees. After graduating, she worked as a photographer for the Michigan City News-Dispatch and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, but grew tired of being assigned to chase tornadoes, of which she is deathly afraid. From there she went on to work as a staff photographer for the University of Iowa. After her department closed, she began her own freelance work.
Though Miranda enjoys photographing many different subjects, her principal interest is flowers. She strives to capture and elucidate intricate structures and surface textures, and, in her best work, subverts expectations to discover characteristics—elegance, dignity, pathos, shyness—that elude even a close observer. She is careful to avoid sentimentality and sensationalism. She passes on riots of bloom and frames her subjects alone, isolated and vulnerable. Tulips and lilies and irises distill to themselves, revealing an otherworldly beauty, a startling unfamiliarity, as though we are not seeing flowers we have lived with for centuries, but strange, luminescent organisms newly-discovered on the ocean floor.
IAG- I love that your interest in photography goes back so far and your story about saving your money to buy your first 35mm. When you were this age, did you see yourself having a career in photography?
Miranda- I was 15 when I took my first photo class. I never thought of it as a career, though. It was just always something I did. Even now when I run into people from high school they comment that I always had my camera. When I got to college, I had no idea what to declare as a major. So, at orientation day I just chose Art thinking I could change it later. But, I never did.
IAG- Where are your favorite places to go to photograph?
Miranda- Anywhere the inspiration strikes. Sometimes, it’s my backyard, or just walking down the street. Other times, I’ll check out a botanical garden while on a trip to another city.
IAG- I do find that your images are not typical floras. It is almost like the photo could be of something other than a plant, and the mind needs some time to figure out what it is looking at. It is like an abstract work only using a camera lens rather than a paint brush. I assume this is purposeful.
Miranda- Completely! I like the abstract quality I get using a shallow depth of field. Most floral photographers step back and use a wider depth of field so that the entire image is in focus. I just take the opposite approach.
IAG- Do you make any other type of art other than photography?
Miranda- Mostly photography. I recently took an encaustic and photography workshop that I loved. I just have to get my home set-up ready, so I can create at home. I also occasionally make some woven beaded jewelry. That's been mostly for fun while I'm watching tv.
IAG- You got your start in photojournalism? Do you have an interesting story that you have covered?
Miranda- One time, I followed around a little boy who had a rare form of cancer in his eyes when he was born. They had to remove his eyes, blinding him. I met him when he was in pre-school. Even though he was blind, he never forgot I was there and talked to me constantly while I was "observing" him with my camera.
IAG- Where do you see your work going in the next few years?
Miranda- I would really like to delve into combining my photography with other mediums, like encaustic. I've always enjoyed drawing and with encaustic I can work with oil pastels, too.