This last month or so I’ve started to realise that I live too much in my own little world of Social Media and I need to start looking for photographers elsewhere. A friend of mine is always asking me if I know this photographer or that photographer, and I never do. Today’s introduction is one of those photographers that my friend said I should look up. To say I was inspired and in awe of her work is an understatement. I’m sure you will feel the same way, so please let me introduce you to Mel Sinclair.
Mel has been to Iceland and her images are quite different to most of the images you see from there. I think they are, I like the compositions. I still find ice like this so incredible, the way it just lands on the beach. The colours in this image are amazing too.
I asked Mel where in the world she was.
Physically, I live in Brisbane, Queensland, it serves as a pretty good base for my travel, but I’m starting to want to be further south (Sydney or Melbourne), where my new friends are and where some new landscapes exist that I’m yet to shoot.
Mentally, I think it’s important that as photographers we think global. I know this sounds like a heap of buzzwords thrown into a sentence, but the very people influencing the landscape styles, are all around the world- and same for every other genre.
We’re in this age where we can see what they’re doing in real time, we can see their styles and read their comments and feed off that.
I think it’s silly to just think Australia-wide, so I live in the internet headspace, kind of like an international airport!
This is such an amazing image to me and similar to something I would love to achieve. It is such a quiet landscape, in fact I think most of Mel’s landscape images are silent, there is a serenity to them. Perhaps that is why I love the work, I like the same sort of landscapes.
Next, as usual, the questions how long have you been taking photos for and why were asked.
I’ve been at this photography-thing for 8 years. It started as a creative outlet that didn’t cost the earth and was relatively easy to begin, compared to my love of painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpting (of which I have a diploma and degree in). Since then, the paths have changed somewhat, but not the original intention. It started out as something for me, to appease my need to create when I am stuck in an analytical job.
It changed into something where I really love what I am doing, where I hope to inspire others and make them challenge their thoughts on certain subjects through my writing. The blogs I write, I feel, have formed an important place in the practice, I’m not just content with creating pretty pictures or competing in competitions (though I do love them) the writing has taken a life of its’ own and I’m still finding my feet with that. I am an Accredited Professional Photographer with the AIPP, pretty new to it all- still finding my feet, but loving the different level of thinking that comes with putting together a submission for states or nationals.
I hope to drive into teenagers struggling to find their way in the world, that once school is over, you can be or do anything you want, you’ve just got to put the effort in. This resonates strongly within me as I grew up feeling the same – the ultimate success in high school was measured on how well you passed maths or science. If you could draw, paint or create, you just hadn’t grown up properly, it was like it didn’t matter.
I now take photos because I just can’t bear to sit still. I love exploring new worlds, new types of landscape imagery and new things to do with it. My curiosity has been piqued and I’m so eager to see what’s up the next mountain, around the hill or buried in the valleys. It’s become a sort of therapy, a cathartic exercise deeply rooted in escapism.
Landscapes are not the only thing she does and you will discover when you go to her website that there are also lots of other images, like this one above. As I am starting to come to expect they aren’t photographed in the usual way and they are also quite stunning and make a statement. I quite like the warm tones of the image, and it would seem that many of her images are taken during those golden hours of the day.
We all get inspiration from somewhere, and I asked Mel about where she gets her inspiration from.
I’ve often been asked this question and it still stumps me. It’s everywhere, it’s through friends passing statements, it’s during my days in an idle moment- an idle thought, through 500px and through my friends and colleagues who I’ve met through photography. I never seem to really be able to switch off my brain, never content unless I’m busy with something. I draw in ideas from everywhere. I’ve figured out that I love trees, so at the moment I’m studying a lot of tree imagery and seeing what can be done, and how, to make it the best possible.
I find inspiration in the weather, the fog, the sunrise and sunset, the way the light filters through tall trees and the way that the water laps at the sand on a beach.
Inspiration is never a static thing, it changes day by day, month to month. When I was studying my Diploma of Fine Art, I had some very inspired teachers. I was told to create an inspiration-wall – snippets, printouts, postcards, words – anything that could drive the creative process, or jog the mind when it is feeling flat, to create. I had one of those walls going for a few years and it helped me immensely. These days my wall exists on my computer in the form of downloads in a folder. We are all shaped by the images that we see prior to creating our work, whether you realise it or not!
While Mel travels all over the world to take photographs, it is good to see that she also finds inspiration where she lives as well. An almost typical Australian landscape, though the colour is something unusual and I think she said it was because there was smoke around. In Australia if there is a bushfire and lots of smoke at sunset you get this very weird red glow caused by the smoke. It is beautiful, but also devastating because of what caused it.
I asked Mel if there was anything special about the way she works.
Honestly, when it all boils down to it, not all of my images are special. Those that are – they are examples of the amazing things that mother nature can throw at us when we least expect it. These images have defined my portfolio and they are also the ones that I am “known” for. I have a few images which are special to me, which I will defend vehemently if stolen or misappropriated, others, I’m happy to let free on the internet.
I’ve often been told that my work is rather “isolating” that the subjects are on their own or there is a certain feel to the imagery that gives that feeling of peace. I don’t know whether this is as obvious now, I’m trying to go for more zen.
When I saw the above image on her site, I had to include it, one from my home town of Melbourne. I know this place, but have only been once, and must make sure I get down there again.
The last question, as always, is about gear.
The easiest one to answer!
I’ve been a Nikon girl since the very beginning, never wavered, never convinced by anything else. I’ve had a fair few in my time, (I’m on my 7th Nikon now).
- Nikon D810
- Sigma DP2 Quattro (backup, fixed focal 30mm)
- Nikon 16-35mm f4
- Nikon 70-200 2.8
- Nikon 50mm 1.8
- Sirui N2204X Carbon Fiber tripod
- Packed into a F-Stop Tilopa BC camera hiking backpack.
I would like to thank Mel for giving me permission to feature her work and for answering my questions. I would invite you all to go and take a look at her work, I am only you a small fraction of what is available. Her website is Mel Sinclair Photography and take a look at her blog there as well. She is also on 500px, the link is Mel Sinclair / 500px. I have gone through the images on her site, well not all, but I have found many that I love and will put them into a gallery for you now.