Meghan Daniels discusses the magic of shooting after dark for adidas Originals’ collaboration with DJ Lag and Shekhinah
For the South Africa launch of the adidas Originals Nite Jogger - a reflective trainer silhouette designed for after dark adventurers – the brand has paired up Gqom star DJ Lag with multi award-winning vocalist Shekhinah for ‘Anywhere We Go’. These Durban artists have collaborated on the single and accompanying Kyle Lewis-directed video featuring the masterfully undulating dancing of Thami Njoko. Meanwhile as part of the adidas Originals SA NTWRK AREA3 programme, capturing the action on the other side of the lens was Meghan Daniels. Known for their sex positive work which has an emphasis on all things queer, this Cape Town-based photographer talks exclusively to Nataal about their creative process.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a visual person. I was raised by a single mom and I’m an only child so I have memories of sitting under her work desk occupying myself with wax crayons and paper and making a colourful mess,” they reflect. “I didn’t know that the way I saw the world could actually be ‘captured’ and frozen in time through a camera, so you can imagine the sorcery and magic I encountered when I used a camera for the first time – it was a little disposable, bright pink plastic Barbie camera.”
“The darkness actually illuminates - worlds come alive that you don’t see during the hustle bustle of the day”
An intensely personal artist, Daniels’ photography dismantles and processes what’s going on with them. “At the time I didn’t know this, but I grew up with PTSD which made me really quiet and introverted with all my emotions, mostly a deep unknown anger, pent up inside me,” says Daniels. “As I got older, photography became more of a personal diary and process of catharsis than a medium in and of itself. I used the camera to unpack, express and explore things I couldn’t necessarily put into words.”
This adidas Originals project – with its focus on self expression in the hours of darkness – held a special resonance for this fresh talent. “I’ve always been in love with the night,” they reveal. “I feel like the darkness actually illuminates - worlds come alive that you don’t necessarily see during the hustle bustle of the day, and scenes are perceived in a different way. It’s all different and excites me each time.” They therefore relished the chance to do something bigger than just capturing standard footage. “Shooting BTS is one of my favourite things to do. It really gives you space to experience and capture things that people don’t usually see in the final product of a body of work.”
This isn’t the first time that Daniels has been part of the NTWRK AREA3 crew. Collaborating with performance artist Queezy on a piece centred around self-expression, they created a visual diary that’s honest and wonderfully organic. “Queezy just called me one day and asked if I wanted to hang out and shoot together, so that’s what we did. This is something that’s quite important in the work I do – it’s about the relationships with those I shoot with and the process behind the work.”