On the Couch with Melanie Faith Dove

Melanie-Faith-Dove-photo-by-Jacob-ChapmanWho is Melanie Faith Dove?
Melanie Faith Dove is an award winning multi-disciplinary photographer, published author and a Photojournalism teacher who also dabbles in jewellery design and more recently, painting.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would paint all day, everyday. I discovered painting last year around the first series of Covid Melbourne Lockdowns and it was amazing. It made me feel so calm and excited to bring my imagined characters to life. I loved learning a new skill which I hadn’t had the patience for til now. I have been so lucky to have had a job as a photographer that’s given me a creative outlet and a career and taken me to so many places and meet many people – adding the joy of painting to my arsenal helps me be more creative in all facets of my life.

Who inspires you and why?
I am mostly inspired by artists and painters these days. My favourites would be Jessica Page, Clare James and Prudence Flint – they’re all from Victoria. I am constantly in awe of their creativity, productivity and unwavering dedication to their passion to produce beautiful work I can then wrap my imagination around.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am always working on pro-bono projects or with clients that I believe will help the greater good. I spent time photographing the Sumatran elephants, I’ve worked with Children First Foundation and the Yothu Yindi Foundation in NT. I am currently a volunteer photographer with Vets for Compassion, they’re amazing. The volunteer vets treat and facilitate rehabilitation of Australian wildlife, mostly kangaroos and they help with bushfire and flood relief, rescuing Indigenous species. I hope my photos bring attention to the diminishing native wildlife and how our suburban lives, dogs, construction and cars are slowly killing our wildlife.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Bicheno, Tasmania. It is like my second home. I would like it to be my primary one. It’s like paradise. My father-in-law owns a tin shed shack there backing onto national park whilst overlooking the ocean. We wake up, drink coffee on the deck and watch wallabies graze in the small paddock below. And after long days adventuring by the seaside, we go to sleep listening to the ocean. It has been a big part of my children’s lives, we even moved from Melbourne and sent them to school there for one term. Plus I have some of my greatest friends on earth living there.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
This is quite funny because the usual thing I take everyone to see is my horse, Thomas. He is a Clydesdale x Standardbred and since I live in ‘the burbs’ of Montmorency he is agisted about twenty minutes away in Kangaroo Ground. Sometimes we will drink a beer, give him a pat or a brush and just absorb the peace and tranquility of the bush setting. I get repeat requests to return so it can’t be too bad of an outing.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently between books, I just finished an old, obscure one I picked up at a book swap in my local bakery called The Little Walls by Winston Graham. It was quite good, a bit bizarre as it is set in the mid 1900’s and the conversational English is really quite different, it had twists and turns – all in all a solid pass. The next book I have on the bedside table is Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein.

What are you currently listening to?
Oh, I am listening to the best fictional podcast I’ve come across thus far called, The Left Right Game. I never knew this genre was a thing. Always listening to non-fiction investigative journalism until a few weeks ago and now I am hooked, binging on it, daily.

Happiness is?
Hanging out with animals other than human, painting and hearing my teens, Austin and Darcy laugh – not necessarily in that order, perhaps I can try and combine the experience of all three and reach Melanie Faith Dove Nirvana!

What does the future hold for you?
Well, I am excited about the future after struggling with some pretty crippling anxiety during the Covid pandemic period. I am planning to paint more and maybe even push myself to have an exhibition in a years’ time. I will continue shooting and publishing projects that appeal to me and keep teaching (and hopefully inspiring) a new generation with my Photojournalism Master’s course at University of Melbourne.

Melanie Faith Dove’s photography can be seen in The Wimmera: A journey through western Victoria – the latest release from Ten Bag Press, publishers of the best-selling book The Mallee in 2020. For more information, visit: www.tenbagpress.com.au for details.

Image: Melanie Faith Dove – photo by Jacob Chapman