Art Education & Qualifications: Art Foundation, Ba Hons Dramatic Art
Working Medium: Digital Photography, Writing
When she was six years old, Melanie Gow’s father handed her his new Pentax Asahi Spotmatic camera. She has been understanding the world through a lens ever since.
Born and brought up in Kenya, East Africa, the luxury item in her home was the National Geographic, full of emotional images with their stories from around the world; showing her to places, people and environments she would never otherwise have known about.
Her home was in one of those remote places, and while she was discovering the world through National Geographic, she realised that photographers were sending images and their stories from her backyard around the world; the thrill of the wildebeest migration, the strangeness of the Maasai Warriors, and even the despair.
To her, photography doesn’t just answer a desperate need to preserve moments, from despair to joy or transcendence; it has the power to make a moment stand out and be noticed.
The act of taking a photograph holds your attention to a moment, to right now. It is the practice of mindfulness, or at least attentiveness to the present.
Melanie believes photography is an intricate, interpretive series of beautiful moments, which can enlighten or entertain, it deepens and widens and expands our sense of life. Photography can feed the soul of both the photographer who sees the picture and the person who looks at it.
As a species, we need and want to understand who we are; writing about her connection with any given moment helps Melanie to do this, it is a natural part of her art. She uses the written word to trace the journey from observing to internalising the meaning to the attempt to communicate it.
Melanie went into filmmaking initially and wrote and directed a feature film that won the award for best woman director at the The Festróia Festival Internacional de Cinema de Tróia. She is the published author of Toasters Don’t Roast Chickens: the story of an ordinary mum who challenged conventional medical thinking and transformed the health of her chronically-ill child. Her Photographic Art has exhibited in London and has been featured on the cover of a book. She has also been commissioned to create images for cultural initiatives and collaborative art projects, and her work is in private collections in the UK, Canada, USA and Spain.