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About

“What have we always said is the most important thing?”
“Breakfast?”
“Family.”
“Oh right. I thought you meant of the things you eat.”
— Michael & George Michael Bluth, Arrested Development

The above exchange tells you pretty much everything you need to know about me: I never skip breakfast, my brain is happily overstuffed with sitcom quotes, and my passion in life is capturing what I think is the most important thing: family.

Over the past couple of years, my mom—the most important person in the world to me—has battled multiple kinds of cancer. The first round, in 2011, brought me back from my grown-up home of Pittsburgh, PA to my hometown of Memphis, TN. Coming home has allowed me to see friends old and new change the shape of their families: welcoming new babies, saying goodbye to people they’ve loved forever, and learning to treasure the moments both large and small that make up their lives. It’s the loss as much as the love that motivates my desire to document: knowing that moments that seem trivial or familiar one day can vanish the next. Sometimes the only way to get those moments back is through photography.

I shoot primarily lifestyle portraits, as opposed to heavily posed studio sessions. My favorite photos to take are of people who love each other: the brother and sister who drive each other crazy, the cousins who can’t wait to see each other once a year, the mom and dad who can’t believe their luck at creating such a beautiful family. I’m a huge nature nerd, so I love shooting outside, but many of my favorite photo sessions happen in people’s homes, where the everyday details of their lives are on display. It’s such a pleasure traveling with people through the phases of their lives: a house that one year is filled with onesies and bottles gives way to one strewn with racecars, crayons, and stuffed animals. Capturing these changes, and the new ways families relate to each other over time, is my privilege and joy in life.

If you’re up for inviting me into your life, I would be honored to help you tell your story. Contact me anytime at melissa@melissamcmasters.com.

melissa-about