Photography Show at Bermuda Society of Arts

I’m very happy to announce that I will be having my first solo photography show at The Bermuda Society of Arts in Hamilton, Bermuda!  Salt Stories: 10 Years Later will opening on Friday, December 11th at 5:00pm and runs through January 6th, 2015.  The show will feature 44 digital photographs that were shot between 2011 and 2015.  This collection of images makes up three photo essays, each one with a story to tell.  However, there is a common element among all three; salt.  Both in the literal and figurative senses, salt is present in the photographs.  It is seen in the ocean water, in the hands of a loved one, and in the sweat on a dance floor at a wedding.  In attempts to capture honest moments in time, I found myself photographing what I call “salt moments”; a term I often used while attending The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine ten years ago.  A photograph that allows the viewer to gaze into an action, space, or the mind of a subject, and feel empathy is a “salt moment.”

Fiander, Melanie, from "Aunt Mary" - Her Daughter's First Communion, 2015.

The first photo essay titled Aunt Mary was shot at my great aunt’s house in Brooklyn, New York, in October of this year.  The underlying story is about my Aunt Mary, age 91 and the matriarch of our family, who is suffering from Dementia. Despite her illness, during my visit I viewed our conversations and interactions with each other to be slower, but still intact as it once was a year ago – five years ago – ten years ago.  I’ve included photographs that show objects from her home and her surrounding spaces to give the viewer a sense of location, time, culture, and lifestyle.  The sequence starts out with light and bright images and moves toward darker ones; a metaphor for her days.  Aunt Mary’s mornings are sunny and clear, yet as the day moves on, she becomes cloudy and confused. 

Fiander, Melanie, from "Like Father, Like Son" - At the Helm, 2011.

The second photo essay titled Like Father, Like Son is comprised of photographs I took of my husband, James West, and father-in-law, Blake West.  These two men have worked together on and off as deep-sea fishermen for several decades in Bermuda.  Their ability to work together both on the water and on land makes them a unique and well-respected father/son fishing duo. While making a living off of the ocean, they maintain a conservative approach towards fishing.  In attempts to understand the minds of their fish, Blake and James move as the fish do.  Father and Son are up well before the morning light to assess the weather and seek out blue water. My photographs offer a “behind the scenes” look at Blake’s and James’ day-to-day life.

Fiander, Melanie, from "Fiander Foto: Weddings" - The Dress: Bride and Mother, 2015.

My final set of images showcases my preferred stylistic approach to photographing weddings.  Through the lens of my camera, I approach my subject with a documentary and photojournalistic eye.  Whether I’m photographing a bride getting ready or during a speech, I aim to capture honest moments.  The photographs in this series were shot at several different weddings and showcase how one’s big day is captured throughout the morning, afternoon, and evening

Ten years after attending The Salt Institute, my definition of a “true photo essay” has changed, although I still see traces of “salt moments” within my work. Once you are trained to capture a subject with a documentary approach, it’s not only the style of shooting that sticks with you year after year.  It’s also the need to share a story as it occurred and to allow your viewer into that world.  

To read more about my past photographic work, click "here".