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Ghost Ranch; New Mexico at Sunset

GHOST RANCH @ GOLDEN HOUR

Every sunrise and sunset that I missed on our trip to New Mexico felt like a tragedy. As an artist, I know the value of good light. It literally hurts my soul when I travel to a beautiful land and can’t sit and watch that magical golden hour. I comically explain this concept to my husband, who as a musician understands only slightly. He’ll indulge me when I wake him up at 4 in the morning to drag him out on the road in Iceland or will put up with driving late at night to come back from a sunset scout. After dinner near Ghost Ranch, I asked if we could turn around and drive back for golden hour. I am so glad we did. I was able to grab these images with enough color detail to hand paint in the vibrancy we saw in person. So gorgeous!

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In the works ...

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In the works ...

My calendar is a beautiful color coded hot mess of appointments, meetings, deadlines, and productions. I repeat to myself that I am fueled and nourished by my clients, subjects, and films that I get to create. This helps me push through the next round of work. 

I keep going back to a visualization I had while having my aura read about ten years ago. I was told that my energy was grounded and I am delightfully and magically making the world move about me as I move through it. As a director, I loved that image. Right now, I am in it. The world is swirling around me and I am slowly stepping through it. 

From the inside, it is a thrilling and scary place to be. I am questioning my work, what I have to say and what I have created thus far. I am feeling pulled toward my new age. I feel a new transformation bubbling underneath all this activity and I am not sure where it is leading me quite yet. 

I've come here to update. But really, I think I just needed a minute to put some thoughts on paper. I am feeling ready for my next artistic iteration, my reinvention or emergence. I know it is happening underneath the surface, but I have yet to give this new found "thing" a voice.

That's all I have for the moment. I have lots of cool new work to share. Which is the source of all this activity. I've been keeping my instagram updated, come join me there: @melissafoxmedia

 

 

  

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On Location: New Mexico Landscapes

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On Location: New Mexico Landscapes

 

Bandelier National Monument is a 33,677-acre (13,629 ha) United States National Monument in New Mexicopreserving the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans of a later era in the Southwest. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, in total from 1150 to 1600 AD.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, locally known as the "Gorge Bridge" and the "High Bridge",[2] is a steel deck arch bridgeacross the Rio Grande Gorge 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Taos, New MexicoUnited States. At 565 feet (172 m) above the Rio Grande,[3] it is the seventh highest bridge in the United States and 82nd highest bridge in the world.[4]

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I didn't expect New Mexico to seep into my soul the way it did. One of my favorite things about travel is seeing what the color looks like in different landscapes. New Mexico is strikingly colorful. I felt like I had never seen the color orange until I saw a sunset here. I now understood why artists were drawn to this landscape. With exception to the black and white image, none of these have been color treated. It's like New Mexico has a beautiful color filter all it's own. 

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Gotham Greens Pullman Chicago

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Gotham Greens Pullman Chicago

I was recently granted access to tour the roof top farm in Pullman Chicago for Gotham Greens, the largest hydroponic rooftop farm built to date. I was already a big fan of their greens. They create the freshest and most full flavored salads. The roof top farm is closed to the public, so this was a rare treat to see the farm in action and taste the goods.

Their vision to turn unused spaces into urban farms is pretty inspiring. Oh and their greens are pesticide free! The company started in Brooklyn and has been expanding to cities. Here is Chicago, access to freshly grown greens in the winter is sparse. Most of our greens are shipped in and are already two weeks old by the time we buy them. Gotham Greens are pulled, packed and delivered daily. I can attest to their freshness lasting weeks longer than other produce I buy. The arugula is amazing. It's spicy, full flavored and has that perfect fresh crunch every time. In addition to creating local jobs, using sustainable energy to run the farm and hiring from Pullman, they donate produce to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and to Chicago Public Schools. 

In Chicago you can find Gotham Greens at Whole Foods, Target, Treasure Island, Jewel, Sunset Foods, Sugar Beet Co-Op and Amazon Fresh. 

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Currently Watching: Ellis

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Currently Watching: Ellis


This is the trailer for ELLIS, a short film starring Robert De Niro, written by Eric Roth, directed by JR. The short narrative film, ELLIS, awakens our collective memory. Leaving their past behind them, immigrants fleeing poverty, discrimination, dictatorship arrived there. Ellis Island was the gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants. Upon arrival, they were processed, approved or denied access. Due to sickness or simply tiredness, many were placed in the hospital. A purgatory of sorts, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, where thousands of men, women and children awaited their fate. ELLIS tells the forgotten story of these immigrants who built America while questioning about those who currently seek the same opportunities and safety in this country and other parts of the world. The short film stars Academy Award Winner Robert De Niro, was written by Academy Award winner Eric Roth and directed by the artist JR whose Unframed art installations in the abandoned Hospital complex serve as the set for this powerful and timely film.

The past few years I have discovered a deep desire to learn more about my own genealogy and cultural identity. Up until recently, when asked, I told people I was a blend of many European cultures. So blended, in fact, that I don't have any cultures I identify with. Being an artist this was a topic I often explored. Feeling invisible among my diverse peers. It has taken me years to be able to articulate the feeling of being removed from ancestral traditions. I know this plays into my desire to work with and capture stories of all peoples. 

It is not that I don't have a form of cultural identity but for whatever reason, it wasn't a currency in my family system. It has been lost. I have no religion that I feel deeply connected to, I study all of them. I have no traditions that stem from generations. I have a few stories of farming and growing up in the depression but beyond that, there is a void. 

Since as long as I can remember, I longed to see the world and learn about different cultures. I purposely seek out worldly people to fill my life with. I reasoned that if I didn't have a specific culture I identified with, that I would become a student of all of them.

Art allowed me to do that. 

I had been casually looking up french street art, you know, as one does, when I came across JR's work. His talk, "How art can change the world," won the TED prize in 2011. JR is a French street artist who had some beautiful ideas about how art could shape a community. After being in Paris and getting to see their street art first hand, I can tell you, they do it better than anything I have seen in the states. It's sassy and on point in a way Banksy could never touch. If you haven't seen the talk yet, please watch it below. It is amazing. I would LOVE to see something like this in Chicago. 

Ellis is not a new piece of work. It features JR's installation, Unframed. The installation was created in 2014, the short film came out the following year. It feels more relevant to me now given our current events. I remember reading Anne Frank in school and having my eyes opened to the horrors of oppression and immigration. I hope to never know such peril in my life. Truth is America was founded by immigrants who fought their way across the land and conquered it. Unless you are Native American, you are the product of immigration. In Ellis, JR attempts to bring you face to face with these ghosts. These stories of immigration. The people who fled discrimination, war and poverty to seek a better life. A staggering number of people living in the United States can trace their roots back here. Millions came through the island on their way to a better life.

It is estimated that 40% of people alive today can trace their roots back to a family member coming through Ellis Island. 

The film is beautifully written. I love me some De Niro, and think he gives the material justice. Personally, I would have loved to hear it in different languages. The photography of Unframed is haunting. It sits among the dilapidated buildings giving story to it's walls. Simply breathtaking.

When immigration became a political hot topic this year, my brain became interested in this project again. Our modern day immigrants don't look like this. They are no longer the European ancestors we see in our history books, they come from all over the world. When I began traveling I was embarrassed that I didn't speak another language. Everywhere I went, people were bilingual. They never made me feel bad for not knowing the native tongue but I had this deep desire to join them. Travel breaks down walls. The biggest wall it breaks down is fear. Fear of others, fear of other cultures, fear of those who are different than "us." 

I think it is more important now than ever that we see the faces of everyday people from all walks of life doing every day things. 

It is important to know our history. I think of our modern day Ellis Islands. The ones that sit on our borders and detain people. They have the same desire as those who came before. They are looking for a better life. They don't want anything they haven't earned. They just want a shot at creating something better for themselves. I can't imagine having to leave it all behind and start over in another country. One that is hostile towards me. What bravery and courage that takes. 

I am headed to New York for the first time this spring. Ellis Island was the first place on my list to visit. I want to stand there. On the steps of what was hope for so many and gaze at lady liberty. Some never made it beyond the hospital. Others were detained for years, living in limbo. Before the island was opened to the public, it was used for deportations. A crazy full circle. 

You can watch Ellis on Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

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On Location: Women's March Chicago

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On Location: Women's March Chicago

#whyimarch

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Political feelings aside, this march has been a long time coming. The election was a tipping point but not the reason people took to the streets. In the planning stages, this movement had a tone that other protest movements did not. Women's rights are humans rights. Equality for all. This movement has a clear agenda, organization and support from the world. Today was bigger than me, my husband or my city.  The images from around the world echo a message that EVERYONE is feeling. The future is female and feminine values are needed to restore balance in our world. I want future generations to experience a better world than the one I leave behind.  

I had a plan to take portraits of protestors. But upon arrival it became very clear that not only would I not be able to find the people I selected but that today was about to be historic. I have marched for quite a few things in Chicago, but this felt different. THIS was the kind of march I read about in history books. The good will of the crowds reminded me of what it felt like to stand in grant park and listen to the first African American president speak on the night of his election. I decided to abandon all plans and go with the flow. There was no cell service and all signs were telling me to be present and soak the experience in. The photograph below beautifully illustrates the feeling: Soaking in the sunshine after a month of darkness while surrounded by like-minded men and women. It was a breath of fresh air. It made everyone beautiful. 

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I march for equality. I march for women.
I march for families and children of all races and religions.
I march for better representation in our government. I don't ever want to see a white washed inauguration again. My world is colorful. I want my art, my work, my media and my government to reflect the tapestry of culture that I experience every day.
I march because I am aware of the privilege my skin color affords me. I am aware that I am joining a long line of dissent from my friends of color.  I am honored to give you my space and my voice. I will hand you the microphone if it is handed to me.
I march because as a woman I have experienced sexism and misogyny first hand.
I march because no little girl should grow up thinking that her body is her only value. Because no man has the right to make decisions about her body for her. I march against discrimination.
I march for healthcare, because no one should go bankrupt because they are sick.
I march for education. As a public school kid I know the value of access to quality opportunities.
I march because the student loan debt is OUT OF CONTROL. Access to education should not put one in debt for a lifetime.
I march for access to the arts, for without it I would not have found my voice or my livelihood.
I march for the climate, because science is real. 
I march for the men in my life who stand with me to fight this fight, because women's rights are human rights.
I march for my gay, lesbian and trans friends because love is love is love is love is love is love is love. No matter what you identify with or where you come from. I march for affordable housing, because the American dream of owning a home is dead.
I march for immigration rights, because my family would not have survived WWi without it.
I march for the fight against income inequality, because I am the first generation to make less money than my parents and it is NOT because I am lazy.
I march for those, who for whatever reason, could not march today but wanted to, because I respect the hard working families that couldn't' afford to take a day off for activism. 

Today was just one day, but it was enough to give me the strength I will need for the days ahead.

Who runs the world?
Girls. Better get used to it. 2020 is female. 

POST SCRIPT JANUARY 23, 2017

It wasn't even 24 hours after the march that I started to experience backlash for marching. In fact, it was five minutes after posting this that I started to see women talking about how they "didn't need this march," or how we "special snowflakes," need to STFU and "get over it." I am currently in many arguments about the " Trump did more for fat women by getting them out to march than Michele did in 8 years," meme. That I even have to explain why that isn't funny is a problem.  

I did not march because "my party didn't win the election," I marched because I see progress on issues I care about slipping away. The election taught me that I need to be louder. I need to work harder.  Again, Trump wasn't the reason I marched but he was the spark that woke me up. He gave me a nice dose of reality. Helped me see that we weren't making the progress I thought we were. He popped my white privilege cherry wide open with his rhetoric. These things have been stirring in my soul for a long time. He was the push for me to speak up. 

I wish Trump well. He was elected and I respect our democratic system. I hope he proves me wrong.
Until then, I march. I write, I create, I scream, I cry, I work, I have uncomfortable conversations.
I am working toward creating a world that benefits all - not just the few. I am skeptical that he will help me accomplish that goal.

But here is the BEAUTIFUL THING: You have the wheel now dear conservatives. Prove me wrong.
Make it great for ALL AMERICANS and make me eat my words!!

Go ahead. I dare you. 

In the past few months I have spent time listening to views that oppose mine, as I have spent most my life among a conservative republican white family. I often felt alone in my views and choose not to engage with the racist, out of touch, conspiracy theories I heard spew from the mouths of those around me. I used to see my silence as respect for that person's views. I now see that as a passive participant, I am responsible for our current events. This work IS upsetting. It WILL challenge me but I am ready to engage more deeply. 

I grew up with one foot in the middle class white world and the other in the diverse poor side of my city. A unique experience I wish more people had. I have seen first hand what discrimination looks like. I have watched my talented friends of color struggle, while I succeeded. Just because YOU don't feel you need to march, doesn't discredit 2.5 million others who feel like they do. 

I am disappointed in you if you choose to alienate me when you keep calling for unity. Lead by example. Be curious and listen. 2.5 million people took to the streets. It will be in our history books. 

If you are a woman you owe your right to vote to the women in history who marched. Period. 

Images (c) melissa fox media LLC 2017 - may not be used or duplicated without my written permission. Inquire for media rates. Will donate for any women's movement, please write me for permission. 

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The Ladies Three

I am obsessed with eyes. I remember they were the first doodles I ever made. It seems to be popping up more and more in my portrait sessions as of late. I think the eyes tell us so much. This was a quick test of a new lens with the interns of fig media inc. Loved how they turned out! 

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A grand adventure...

As Winnie the Pooh once said, "A grand adventure is about to begin."

There is something so beautiful about an in home baby bump session but this one was made even sweeter as it is a gift for my friends. These two not only have the sweetest story about how they met but they maintain that simple sweetness throughout their lives. You can feel it when you sit with them. Delighted to call them friends, can not wait to meet your little one! 

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Still life photography with iPhone.

I was surprised when this snapshot became my most popular instagram photo.

This photo was taken in five minutes. I was splitting open a pomegranate. I looked down and noticed how beautiful it was. It reminded me of a 17th century still life painting. One of my favorites from Art History. I walked the cutting board over to my sunroom and set it on the table. I took one of the paintings off my wall and put it on its side in the background. I then took a book to block the light from the right side of the frame and adjusted the blinds to give me the light I wanted. It took me a few rounds of photographs with my iPhone to get the angle and exposure I wanted. When I touched the screen at the hottest (brightest) point, I got the light quality I wanted. Click on my diagram below to see how to set this up for yourself. The book placement is the key to getting the shadows right. 

Love these and want a print? Click on the images below to go to my print store. 

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