Her photographic images are beautiful and evocative of the First Nations culture.
Yet Melody Charlie is a reluctant recipient as a First Nation Photographer for the Best Arts & Cultural Business through the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation, NEDC, business awards.
“I really wasn’t sure, “ says Charlie, who sees her work more as a natural expression of who she is and sharing her culture.
“I’m super passionate about traditional language, connection to land, connection to food, anything that makes us who we are as a First Nation.”
Charlie’s photography at www.melodycharlie.com shows another side to the First Nations people that isn’t often shown through traditional media.
“A huge side of it is showing the other side of us,” says Charlie. “I feel we’re misrepresented in the media. I’m doing what I love, capturing who we are as indigenous people.”
Charlie started doing photography 23 years ago and shooting professionally five years ago.
She says the photography evolved after she went through a lot of hurt and pain when she lost her husband nine years ago.
“I was in some deep, dark places. I began searching spiritually for anything that could heal me. Photography became an outlet for her search and sharing her culture.
“That was a huge part of me needing to connect culturally and spiritually,” she says. “I feel like we live in a world that is very materialistically driven. I think as a First Nations people I began to crave this very simple life that my grandparents lived.”
As a result she changed her lifestyle and started sharing the simplicity of the First Nations people through her work. She’s now raising her ten-year-old son in a much simpler way than she raised her now 23 year-old son.
Charlie’s photography started out as an expression of her culture that turned into something more.
“It never started as a business for me, I think it found me,” she says. “It was what I did naturally. Then I had businesses and organizations approach me, wanting to publish my work.”
Her work shows images like a baby swaddled in a blanket lying in a basket, a father kissing a son while holding colorful drums, two lovers in a field, two carvers with a canoe, a solitary woman on a beach and much more.
“It’s something I think that found me,” says Charlie of her photography. “I was searching and I reconnected culturally. A lot of it has to do with our ways.