Mel Barlow & Co.
www.melbarlowandco.com- weddings and portraits
www.melbarlow.com- commercial and fine art
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram: @melbarlowandco and @melbarlow
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
I have been shooting professionally for 12 years, starting in Indiana where I grew up. I started shooting internationally in 2006 while living in Southern California and two years later I moved to NYC.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
After finding photography by chance through an art therapy program, I fell in love and decided to focus solely on shooting. I was inspired by my deep unexpected connection to the medium and also by the response I got from others about my work. Luckily my family has a pretty extensive photo record of our ancestry and my curiosity in this came simultaneously with my new gift. I particularly had an interest in the early photos where I could see incredible depth in a person's expression, I could see the hardships and joy all mixed up into one image. I loved the idea that I was capable of creating this type of family record for others by documenting their unique stories and lives in a genuine way.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I think there is a balance of intuitiveness and patience in the way I shoot, knowing when someone isn’t comfortable or doesn't feel great based on body language and other subtle clues. I have to quickly and with confidence figure out what needs to be shifted and most often it’s a vibe or a feeling, not physical. I can definitely feel when it's right and when we are getting the shots, and I will always work to get to this place. When things are aligned, something magical happens.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love that I get to travel all over the world for my work and spend time with people in such an intimate and creative way. We are often strangers and I get to know them and understand them not only as a new person I’m just meeting but in a totally unique way through my art. I also get to make people super happy for a living, which feels awesome too!
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Moloko in Bed Stuy
How do you benefit mamas?
I can help mamas by creating a visual record to look back on during this lifetime and for generations to come.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
By far the most powerful and memorable from a dear client who’s husband passed away, was a reminder that what I am doing is much bigger than a job or art but at times can touch others in an immense and beautiful way.
“I just wanted to tell you how much happiness your photos have brought. I know you were worried about sending them over but I couldn't be more relieved that you were able to so beautifully capture those days I'm so thankful I had. His smile, our happiness, everyone's happiness, are palpable in the pictures and I'm really grateful I can revisit such a perfect memory.”
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Allan Zepeda, Jose Villa, Tec Petaja, Brooke Fitts- beautiful work, beautiful people.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
Have compassion for yourself and others and don’t be afraid to share your story and to give tough advice to those you care about in a loving way. Sometimes it may not be well received or easy to share the but at least you were brave enough to step up and give it a go. The difficult conversations usually end up being the most meaningful and transformational.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
I’m not a mom yet but look forward to the day! My advice is to ask for help and trade favor time with your closest. Sometimes the stuff that is the most difficult to accomplish alone can be done effortlessly with a little support. Plus its way more fun to do projects together!