We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Markle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
There’s a saying that took me a long, long time to implement. “Eat your frogs first.” I find that I’m most successful at feeling energized throughout the week, if I start with the harder tasks on my to-do lists each day. As the week progresses I’m able to fit in more time for myself. I also make time for a regular mindfulness practice that involves a community zoom call with other individuals once a week (I highly recommend https://cloudsangha.co/). This practice has been life changing for me in all areas, and has taught me to find more harmony and balance when things come up that are outside of my control or less than ideal.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an editorial, documentary, and lifestyle/brand photographer living in Lafayette, Colorado with my partner and two chihuahuas – Kate and Kiki Koko. I don’t have just one niche when it comes to photography, because there’s just so much I find inspiring, but more recently my focus has organically shifted to helping conscious brands, small businesses and other creatives with their visual storytelling. My approach is unique in that rather than one-off shot ideas that can feel disjointed and more of the same, I help my clients create strategic, artistic storylines with the intention of connecting with their audience, not just throwing out more pretty photos. Pretty is nice, but there also needs to be a clear purpose to the images and stories we are telling in order for them to have lasting impact. I’m currently finding inspiration in authenticity – meeting the truth in a moment, person, or myself – no matter how difficult. I always seem to find beauty and inspiration in nature, through travel and lived discovery of a place, and by taking time to unplug and step away from my phone and computer. A good book that evokes a sense of spirit and belonging is also something that inspires me – right now, for me, that book is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Colorado has so much to offer all year round, and what I choose to show a person can often depend on the season. For scenic views, especially in autumn, I like to take visitors on a drive over Guanella Pass with a stop at Bread Bar in Silver Plume for a cocktail on the way back to Denver, or along the Peak to Peak Highway while timing an afternoon stop for pizza and a beer at Crosscut Pizzeria in Nederland. In summer, a concert at Red Rocks and picking up local dinner ingredients at the farmers market outside Denver Union Station is always a good call, along with riding bikes along the Cherry Creek Bike Path and stopping to watch the sunset at Cheesman Park. A new favorite Denver spot of mine is Wildflower for cocktails. The design aesthetic is a dream come true, not to mention the gorgeous cocktail menu. Definitely order the focaccia bread for the table – or just for yourself!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Since moving from Brooklyn to Denver in 2016, I’ve found that the community of womxn creatives to support and uplift here has made such a huge impact on the path I’ve chosen to pursue my photography business. For 4+ years I’ve been part of a small group that meets once a month, initially brought together by the careers we were pursuing and businesses we were building, but now we are great friends and support each other in our personal lives as well. First Descents, the incredible non-profit I worked for through 2020, also deserves a loud and proud shout out. This organization is doing wonderful work for young adults with cancer, and introduced me to colleagues and life-long friends who brought out my most dedicated, silly, and grateful sides. I have endless gratitude for my time there. It’s also how I was introduced to my mentor, Leana, who has become an incredible resource and the truest of friends to me.