Melissa Laree Cunningham
Melissa is an artist born and raised in Pasadena, Texas but currently based out of north Texas. Educated in literature and research, she has worked for over a decade as a teacher and librarian in public schools. She is self-taught in photography and focuses on the preservation of the world and experience as it is found by looking at the intimacies of personal space and connection to nature.
She is largely interested in natural and agricultural history of space as it informs generational identity with the hope to see new movements in environment sustainability. By honoring our attachments to each other and the spaces we call home, she hopes to make visible emotional and hidden energies between the Self and Other, be it human or natural. In 2017, Melissa started the small regionally focused publishing project JANE to support working photographers in Houston by providing photobook and curated event pathways for their new work. She exhibits regularly throughout Texas with an interest in experiential spaces for community engagement and reflection.
Through black and white imagery that is simultaneously lush and emotional, Chasing Home reflects on the shifting nature of human connection. Primarily autobiographical, the work shows a constant shifting of characters and spaces in the sub-tropical climate of Houston from 2015-2018 during a time of redefining a personal definition of home.
Melissa began photographing in the summer of 2015 soon after she and her daughter moved back to Houston, her native home, after a ten year hiatus from the city. Over the course of three years, they moved in and out of five spaces and found themselves moving through a rotating cast of characters in the search for a new home marked by space, friendship, and family. Shot primarily on medium format black and white film, the introspective work reflects the slowness and closeness required by the medium which only enhances the lyrical nature of the images individually.