23.08.2011, Words by Charlie Jones

Flickr photographer of the month: Melissa Madison

Melissa has an incredible body of work, documenting her roommates ‘The Delta Saints’, her love of american folk rock and blues bands like ‘The Avett Brothers’ and hopes some day children will find a dusty old box brimming with her photos in an attic somewhere. Her photography is spontaneous and full of life, capturing the moment with a friendly lens and imaginative flare.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the flatlands of Kansas, all yellow brick road and wheat stalks. Just after college I moved to Nashville, TN. Chasing a whim, or a band, and also the notion of going just to go. So “Music City” it is currently.

Where did you study?

I went to school at the University of Kansas but I studied psychology, a little astronomy, and french there. I’ve yet to study photography. At first I didn’t have any intention to, but as I’ve started to grow up with it, I’ve also started to want to know more about it and my predecessors in a rigorous way.

Why photography?

In college I had this group of friends I was so enamored by. They were gypsy-like and open and in love and I leaned really hard on some way to try to catch and maintain what I saw in them. I had this idea of creating chests full of pictures of these young crazy people that would get lost in the attics of their someday homes. I wanted their grandchildren to find them and get a chance to piece together a time that had since drifted on. Somewhere in that exercise, photography stayed with me, and is with me now.

How did you get involved photographing musicians?

One summer, years ago, I found myself at a midnight festival show of The Avett Brothers- a bluegrass/rock band out of North Carolina. Having never seen anything like them before (or since really) I, at that moment, became totally immersed in trying to take photographs that translated what I saw in them. I chased them all over the country. (I think that has something to do with how I ended up in Nashville) And when I got here I moved in with a band—The Delta Saints—and began a life photographing and becoming friends with them as well. This is a city strung with music and comprised of the people who make it, my relationship with musicians was almost inevitable after that, at least for now.

Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?

My official position is that one should say yes to this question, and in fact I’m trying. I just found out I have an opportunity to do some large format printing for free…and I live in a city that is quiet at night and needs better morale by day. We’ll see. Official answer.

Any plans for the future?

Strike fast and never give up.

Check out Melissa’s website

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