Tuesday, December 15, 2009

for feisty Paula

I dedicate this post to my friend Paula Cozzi who died on wednesday 9th December 2009 in Florence Italy.
It was sad news to wake up to ...so I went out in the frosty snow to photograph ice crystals
tiny forests of crystals growing on twigs
so delicate and fragile
and gone the next day

Thursday, November 12, 2009

funny little miniature fairytale show...

"what very big eyes you have..." limited edition 5/50

"very cold blue fairy with frozen wings"10/50

"would you like a lovely red apple my dear?...." 2/50

the Gossamer Collective and Ghost Gallery in Seattle are running a whimsical group show where all works must be miniatures less than 4x4x4 inches. Artists from all over the world are participating and I am so very curious to see the results !!! show opening Friday 13th November (my birthday ) and running til January 2010 soooooooo........ here is what I came up with .... 13 works ....twigs and sticks and bundling of limited edition ACEO photographs from my fairytale series

"wicked snowman" 4/50

"i'm a real boy" 4/50

"thumbelina and the berry patch adventure" 4/50

"a real fairy" 4/50

"skin as white as snow, hair as black as coal, lips as red as blood..." 2/50

"she took one bite of the juicy red apple and fell into a deep sleep" 4/50

"kissing frogs... she was getting a bit tired of it ..." 2/50

"fallen knights and bravery" 1/50

"elf" 1/50

"atchoo atchoooo atchoooooooo..." 12/150

(art cards editions and originals)
(lifted directly from wikipedia)

Art trading cards can be seen as the modern incarnation of several much older artistic forms. Because of their small size and usually modest price they have been linked to portrait miniatures, which flourished in the 14th century, and were often used as advertisements by wealthy merchant families in arranging marriages for their daughters. Until this time art collecting was mainly the hobby of the Noble and Royal classes.

In later centuries artist trading cards were used throughout Europe and America as art training tools. Artists would trade the cards between themselves to study each others techniques and explore new art movements. The cards paid a particularly important role in the Impressionists art movement. The Impressionists utilized both sides of their artist trading cards, art on one side and a kind of brief resume on the other. The Impressionists were the first known artists to use the cards in trade for anything other then more art. Impressionists often traded the cards with art collectors in exchange for room, board, and art supplies.

M. Vänçi Stirnemann is credited in many circles with popularizing the modern artist trading card in 1996, holding trading sessions in Zurich, Switzerland. This resurgence of interest of Artists trading cards has spawned the popular ACEO (art cards editions and originals) movement.

the Gossamer Collective can be found here



TUE-SAT 11-12pm-7pm or later (general)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

bizarre clouds

impossible skies ...
is there something that i am not being told about Nevada...?

did i mention that the UFO cloud stayed still while the other clouds sailed passed ....?

beep...meep ping......!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

jack-o-lanterns ...

....never carved a pumpkin before ....

its a pretty gruesome process scooping slimey pumpkin brains out with bare hands ... scraping out the stringy skull lining with a spoooon.....erghhhh
all in the spirit of Halloween and the following "day of the dead" ...

jack-o-lanterns are like snowmen ...everyone makes their own style ...
quite addictive :D

spooks and goblins and ghosts ...
sugar skulls and candles,....

and .....harry potter ..... ?

Monday, October 26, 2009

she's gone.........

... in a tiny dark lush brown velvet and extravagantly gold theatre, of ancient nobility, in a castle near Como with only 20 seats for guests, at wonderous miniature productions I can only dream of, I photographed the

"in teatro" series ...

I am only just realising how sad it is to part with some of my absolute favourite images ...
of course I am glad they will be out of their storage boxes and will be framed on walls ...
but still......

these images were all shot on a big old bellows camera (head under the dark cloth) on 8x10 inch polaroid ...which is magical stuff ... no longer in production and very difficult and expensive to shoot even when it was in production. The results are now collectors items, unreapeatable ... irreplaceable and entirely original...no film/or digital image was shot ...
the polaroid was the final product.

I sent away the the first two images to a collector in the USA a few days ago ,...and each day I wake up thinking I wish I wish they were still with me ...the third polaroid is on its way back to Italy, to an Italian collector .....

I guess this is what it is like sending children off into the world...? knowing theyre never coming back and you can never see them again ....


Thursday, October 22, 2009

the hairy butterfly

the latest in the "birds of paradise" series ...
through the looking-glass, hidden in an obscenely extravagant Italian castle....
encased in gold,.... is a very very hairy butterfly...

it's another oddity from the Matchstickgirl curiosity cabinet

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

birds of a feather ...

Lurking in the lush jungley New Zealand native rainforest...
are many strange creatures ... unheard of and unseen anywhere else in the world...

one of them is called Morag Magnolia Brownlie
a brilliant and amazing Choreographer and Director.

Lately we have been working together on the imagery for her latest dance project
"birds of paradise"
part of the Creative New Zealand dance festival which runs all of this month

Friday, October 2, 2009

the enchanted lens

Frances Melhop: The Enchanted Lens

At the other end of the rabbit hole, among the ferns of the New Zealand countryside, there sat a little girl by the name of Frances. She really, really wanted to see the scurrying pink eyed rabbit come out of that little patch of darkness. She imagined herself engaged in a formidable argument with an ill-tempered caterpillar and she wished for just a little sip from Mock Turtle’s tureen brimming with beautiful soup. She simply needed or better yet, she demanded, something fantastically absurd to happen.
Many times before, she had heard fabulous tales in which princesses slept inside crystal coffins undisturbed for centuries, their beauty preserved by inexplicable magic. She had read accounts about wooden boys turned real by the power of true love. She’d listened to myths of tiny fairies fluttering about and little winter pixies huddling inside a magpie’s nest. She was utterly convinced that all these creatures were out there in the forest, teasingly glancing at her without allowing themselves to be seen. Yet Frances always felt truly at home in this land of make-believe among her whimsical companions.
This is how Frances Melhop grew up to be a story teller. Her affinity for fairy tales only became a stronger source of inspiration as time went on and, quite naturally, women became the focal point of her visual tales. Her photographs now incorporate every possible aspect of the archetypal female: the damsel in distress, the marionette craving for autonomy, the persecuted heroine and the youngster untainted by malice or deceit. Frances’ characters are never regarded as mere objects of tantalizing beauty, but rather as vehicles through which the story is told in successive vignettes. Melhop despises the way in which women have come to be portrayed in fashion and advertising. Often times they are nothing more than the unwilling recipients of a vulgar and distasteful set of attributes and expectations. In sharp contrast, her work breaks away from this trend to render females in a much more thoughtful, considerate and elegant manner.
Marionette is an ideal illustration of how, through such a succinct and forthright image, Frances Melhop is able to imply the many layers of meaning within the tale. Here, the puppet and the master are one and the same. The duality of their roles develops into a symbiotic relationship between them. It is a complex bond that simultaneously grants them both freedom and confinement. In appearance, the human is simply in command of the toy. Paradoxically, the puppeteer enacts her dreams through the actions of the marionette, so that the puppet turns into an agent of freedom despite her attachments. The issue of ethical behavior and personal boundaries is candidly addressed in this photograph.
What remains unequivocal is that Frances Melhop is the one gently holding the strings behind all her images. Her work is distinctively her own. In recreating these fairy tales she whispers secrets, unveils beauty, washes away bias and connects us all with the acorn of truth that sleeps within our collective consciousness. Her lens is the rabbit hole of our childhood that holds the promise of a magical, kinder world.

press release written by Christina Clarimon USA Arthaus66 gallery october 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

a spot of trumpet blowing and shameless self promotion......


- voted "One of the Worlds 200 Best Advertising Photographers 2009/2010" by Luerzers Archive -

Frances j Melhop has been based in Milan Italy for the last 9 years, she is well known in Europe and the South Pacific as a creator of extraordinary and unique imagery in the fashion / advertising arena.

Frances crafts her work .... from primary concept ,art directing, shooting , completing all post production and illustration into her works. Her photographs have appeared in the top European magazines from Vogue Italia, Vogue France, British Vogue,and Glamour, to Face, ID, Purple, Marie Clarie Italia, Elle, Vogue Pelle, Vogue Gioello, and D della Repubblica.

ODA LISBOA, TRIUMPH Lingerie and CAROL CHRISTIAN POEL. These Images have appeared on billboards throughout Europe the UK ,the Middle East, Australia and Oceania

In studios,castles, jungles, obscure islands, hanging out of aeroplanes and even underwater Frances conjures up an enchanted world of her own to create and tell the story she is working on....
Tall tales and surreal stories are the air she breathes.....
making possible the impossible and by anthropomorphizing all "heroes" from a little red
city scooter snuggling a Paris Metro railing, to a Gucci bikini thrown carelessly in a lagoon...

Currently Frances is exhibiting in 2 galleries
one show entitled "punti di vista" Rome ITALY at the Vista gallery ...
and "times of transformation" Albuquerque New Mexico USA at Arthaus66.....
and she has also been invited to show in October 2009 at the "TRIENNALE" in Milano Italy, with the worlds leading female photographers and the "Soqquadro Foundation" Rome Italy

to see further work

www.francesjmelhop.com or contact to view portfolio

what they are saying .....

"Frances Melhop's images possess the pulsating beauty of an underwater realm in constant motion. The weightlessness of the figures conveys silence and peaceful introspection, while water and light join in a captivating dance." Artslant 2009

Greatness was predicted for this creatively-minded artist...." Her business magazine 2008

"Frances is a storyteller: she creates fairy tales in photography" Scoutiegirl 2008

"artist of wonderland" Moda Lisboa 2006

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ghost butterflies

my latest work
"ghost butterflies"

an epoca silk covered wall in an abandoned house in Milano ...with an imprint of the painting that used to hang there... acids from the original painting have marked the silk wall giving a 3D effect that the painting is still there ...

ghosts and memories
all that is left

Friday, July 10, 2009

life on the edge of the volcano

back in New Zealand,
tramping boots and gaiters,
climbing blown out volcanoes and lurking in magical scary forests on the insides
of the crater....crawling through liana vines that have grown into trees and sloshing around in deep deep mud as water trickles constantly through the rain forest lush lush kiwi jungle..... after the Nevada crackling dry desert......
it could not be more different...

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