By: Lillian Lema, Staff Writer
Many unique and talented artists have walked through the halls of USM where they were able to explore their passions and creations. At USM, alumnus Bridget Conlogue was able to realize that her interests in filming and photography were the right path. “School helped me learn more about myself and figure out how I’m going to be as an artist” the 2017 communications and media studies alumnus said.
During her senior year of high school at Erskine Academy in South China, ME Conlogue took a class called “Intro to Video Production” and she “fell in love” with filmmaking. Once she entered college it seemed fit that she major in communication and media studies so that she could continue to grow in her aspirations. As she continued to learn about cameras and filmmaking an itch to experiment with photography submersed.
“The more I did photography the more I realized that I was into it and really enjoyed it,” Conlogue said.
By her junior year at USM, she geared more towards photography because she enjoyed the idea of taking pictures that can tell a story. “Video production is more of a creative outlet for me personally and as for photography I mostly do it to help people feel good,” Conlogue said.
When Conlogue works with models she wants to help them feel empowered through her style of fine art portraiture and boudoir photography. “I shoot a lot of nude models. It’s raw and vulnerable, but it’s also empowering because it’s all about them finding their own strength and thriving in it,” Conlogue said.
Through her photographs, she puts more attention to diverse groups of people who don’t get to have a spotlight. “I photograph people in the LGBT community, plus-size models, people of color… people who don’t get the attention they deserve,” Conlogue said.
After graduating from college, Conlogue traveled to Ireland where she was able to conduct a photoshoot in front of Malahide Castle with a full on goth couple. “They were full garbe wearing fangs, red contacts, capes, and walking with a cane… like the whole nine-yards,” Conlogue said. She describes the experience as “fun” and accounts it to be “her most proudest dramatic piece” to date.
When on set Conlogue engages with the models by cracking jokes, being relaxed, and being very communicative. “I don’t see my photography as a business venture, but rather a creative pass time,” she said. Conlogue describes her work as “heartfelt” because she makes art for other people, not for herself.
As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, Conlogue has noticed that there are many artists in her community who will make art for themselves, in which they will portray what they are going through mentally. However, for her, the art she makes is for those she is photographing. “If they feel good then, I feel good,” she said.
Due to her love for nature and the outdoors Conlogue sees herself as “a witch in the woods” who wants to capture the beauty and uniqueness in the world. She doesn’t consider herself a “professional” photographer since she dislikes the word and because her work is a creative outlet that is inspired to help others feel good in their own skin.
“When editing I like to keep my models very naturally looking because I don’t dare to press the beauty standard… I don’t like perpetuating the idea that models have to fit a certain esthetic,” Conlogue said.
For more information on Bridget Conlogue and her work visit Opalkittyphotography.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram at Opalkittyphotography.