Melissa O'Brien and Kris-jon Klopstock are not your average couple that enjoys taking photos every once in awhile. This couple has traveled all over the world taking some very beautiful shots, while enjoying their traveling experiences together. Melissa's work has been recognized by National Geographic and her new work will be shown here in Saratoga. Their new exhibit is showcased at the Four Seasons Natural Foods on 33 Phila St. in Saratoga through late October. I was able to ask them some questions while they were preparing for their exhibit.
- When did you start being a photographer?
Melissa: As a kid I used to use my dad's Minolta AL--a 35mm film camera. I still have that camera today, and I took it with me the last time I went to Alaska, in March.
Kris-jon: I have always wanted to have an artistic outlet in my life and that really happened when Melissa put a camera in my hand and believed in my love of photography.
- If you could summarize your exhibit into one word what would it be?
Melissa: I would have to say inspirational.
Kris-jon: We don't like to label our work but instead really leave it open to the people viewing it form their own opinions.
- Who is your favorite photographer?
Melissa: Dorothea Lange, she was a documentary photographer in the 1930s. Her more recognizable work was done for what was then the Farm Security Administration. Her work was very raw and honest. To me there is great beauty in people living their everyday lives and the full range of emotions that come with that. I also enjoy the work of Saratoga's George Bolster. Something clicked in me when I visited his studio at 1 Phila to sit for my senior portrait in 1983--the way it looked and felt and smelled.
Kris-jon: Tough one! Too many great ones out there but my heart would go to the crew at National Geographic one hundred twenty five years of amazing photos
- Where is your favorite place to travel to?
Melissa: That's a hard question to answer. I've been fortunate to have visited every state but Hawaii. I guess I'd have to say Alaska. The landscape there is so vast that one instantly feels one's true place in the scheme of things. I also love the southwest. Taos, New Mexico holds a special place in my heart.
Kris-jon: Another toughie, my heart and soul is very happy in the Adirondack's.
- What has been the highlight of your photography career, so far?
Melissa: Every time I take a photo of someone who loves the results, that's a highlight. Otherwise, it was a really nice moment when I discovered that National Geographic had chosen one of my photographs for their online collection of photos from around the country. That collection was later picked up by Oprah's website. That was kind of fun. But I don't take photos for the recognition. I do it because it feeds my soul.
Kris-jon: Doing this exhibit with a great friend is truly humbling. That would have to be my highlight.
- What is your favorite photo you have taken?
Melissa: I haven't taken it yet
Kris-jon: That's always evolving and changing every time I take another series of photos-it has my most favorite photo of that time.
- Where have you not traveled to, but hope to in the near future?
Melissa:Iceland. I'm dreaming of driving the Ring Road that goes around the outside of the island.
Kris-jon: Nova Scotia, Canada
- Where can we expect to see some of your photos this fall?
Melissa: Food & Wine magazine is publishing a cookbook this fall and they've chosen a few of my photos to be included.
Kris-jon: Fifty South Restaurant 2128 Doubleday Ave. Ballston Spa
- What inspires you?
Melissa: There's not much that doesn't inspire me. I'm inspired by the gorgeous natural world around us, by great design, by music, by funny people, by love.
Kris-jon: Natural beauty.
- What was the most difficult photo shoot for you?
Melissa: The first one I ever did, about ten years ago. I really had no idea what I was doing and a family hired me to take photos of them while all of their grown children were home for the holidays. We had to shoot indoors, which I really don't like, and the kids really wanted no part of having their picture taken. I lost about five pounds in sweat that day.
Kris-jon: Trying to organize a large family group shot.