Megan Bailey’s latest series documents the skateboarders of Manchester’s Urbis Park
Megan Bailey’s love for photography stems from her deep fascination with the lives of others. “I’m really interested in the countless different ways people experience life,” says the Manchester-based creative. “I think this is what motivates me to get out there, speak to people who have stories they want heard and use my photography as a platform for them to share them.”
This human-centred approach defines Megan’s practice, yielding images which possess an unapologetic tenderness. Keeping individuals at the core of what she does, the softness in Megan’s work starts with her approach to shooting which emphasises dialogue and relationships. “When I photograph people, I can’t be fully satisfied with just shooting them like objects,” she tells It’s Nice That. “So my projects prioritise conversation just as much as taking portraits; it’s so important to get to know your subjects on a deeper level than just their visual appearance.”
In her latest series, Megan turns this inquisitive and empathetic eye on the world of skateboarding. Documenting a group of skaters who gather daily at Manchester’s Urbis Park, A Family Away From Home is rooted in Megan’s curiosity for cultures that reside outside the mainstream. “I always knew I wanted to create a project that followed the lives of a particular subculture. And I wanted to use photography as a tool to step into a completely different way of life to my own,” she explains. Skateboarding wasn’t the first avenue the young photographer considered, but after meeting this group at Urbis Park, she knew it was on them that the series had to focus.
Recalling the early stages of the project, Megan tells us: “I started finding and meeting up with people from all walks of life: modern skinheads, punks, football fans. But when I came across this group of skaters, I knew straight away that I wanted to create a documentary series about them. They were so welcoming to me and when I photographed them it actually felt like a collaboration rather than something involving a photographer-subject power imbalance.”