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Elsa Melero Communicates with the Camera Eye

There are creative purists for whom it is paramount to keep as much of their art protected and hidden, creative icebergs so to speak; and then there are those like Elsa Melero. This photographer rivals every filmmaker in the world in her passion to tell a story. Each project is a chance for her to tell a layered story. It might be for a beverage, watches, a skateboard clothing line, etc. but there are always multiple narratives present in her work. As with a great painting or song, you can choose to see the obvious or read between the lines in Elsa’s imagery. Being unobtrusive with the subtext is her goal. She wants you to see the main idea but also communicate that there is more to the tale than what you might notice at first. It’s this inconspicuous depth that has led to her collaboration with other creatives as well as with varied employers. This is the signature style of Melero’s work, removing the delineations that separate art, advertising, and labels. Elsa states it best commenting, “It allows both the creation of beautiful images that we sell as well as the opportunity to tell stories. I love all the aspects of the craft. I aspire to storytelling as the main aspect in the projects I work on. Even if it’s very abstract, I am still telling a story. My childhood in Spain absolutely had an impact on who I am today and the creative/self-driven career I’ve chosen to pursue. I try to take pictures that speak for themselves, creating a discourse that might define me. I like to take decisions and create personal compositions based on my influences and also on my “non-influences.” I think that the key to creativity is having a bank of knowledge and resources to draw upon. Photography lets me find myself. It is a passport to people, places, possibilities.”


Part of what drives a creative professional to achieve their dreams are the things which inspire them in their youth. As John Lennon said “You may say that I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one” and this applies to every artist regardless of the medium. As a young girl in Spain, Elsa was enchanted by the surfing/skating lifestyle which Southern California projected to the world. The clothes of Matchboys Collective combined skateboard lifestyle and fashion, becoming a connection for her with this fantastic region of the US (she had even previously worked for Matchboys Collective while living in Barcelona). When the company wanted to create a campaign focusing on LA, Melero was tagged to create imagery and given great latitude in her vision. For this Barcelona based fashion company, Elsa created an approach that was authentic in perspective due to her own history with skate culture. What began as a photo shoot morphed into a video campaign titled “Vanguards and Visionaries” which was screened at more than fifteen festivals including the Mexico Fashion Film Festival, La Jolla Fashion Film Festival, and Fashion Film Festival Milano. Collaborating with Sergi Castella (also known for his Nike commercial work), Melero wrote and produced the story. The idea for this sprang from her use of Analog film for the still photography on the Matchboys Collective campaign. Explaining how both herself and the client yearned for a deep statement in this campaign, Elsa relates, “Analog photography is magical. I was far more interested in the spirit of the photo than if the person is wearing the latest style or the appearance of the logo, and so was the client. This attitude is somehow reflected in the casualness of the collection, which does not really distinguish itself with any original style. Blending elements of skater clothing with the more recent normcore attitude, which consists of finding liberation in being nothing special, the concept that was developed ‘Vanguards and Visionaries’ tries to opt-out of the hectic around fashion trends. The quest to create a unique image of self through the things we do, and how these are presented to the world, is abandoned. ‘Vanguards and Visionaries’ goes beyond the surface of apparel, to the core of identity by saying ‘There’s one thing that makes me feel different though, somehow unique. I have a vision, my vision. ... And that vision is not me, or anybody else, changing the world or anything like that. That vision is my own way of looking at life. The way I look.’ This uniqueness is translated through the blurry aesthetics of an old cam recorder, representing the particular perspective of the protagonist and the analog photography.” I wanted to show both the uniqueness of every individual’s perspective on the world, as well as someone’s looks, as if these were two sides of the same coin inseparable.” This represents the highest level of both artist and brand understanding the mindset of the demographic and seeking “connection” rather than simply sales.


There’s as much to be said for the integrity of Melero as for her skills. In her photos she finds it essential to say something rather than simply saying something that the receiver wants to hear. A great story is not a happy ending but instead the enjoyment of the process. This can be complex or extremely simplistic. Cake Magazine asked Elsa to shoot an editorial for them because of her strong voice. Working with the model Famke, she created a journey which is as much about the subject as the setting. Set in the beautiful canyons, in the midst of nature, the moments of contemplation are sobering. The photographer relates, “I love how powerful portrait photography can be and for this project I wanted more out of it. I wanted something real and meaningful to emerge when I worked with a subject and I didn’t want to cover up or take away from what I saw as already complete. A face can be very powerful and create a strong connection with the viewer. In my opinion it just needs to look natural. I wanted to tell a story, but I am not necessarily worried whether the viewer understands what I want to say, at least in this specific case. I like the viewer to be able to interpret ideas and stories through the images and observing facial expressions and actions. I want the viewer to think and take another look at the image.”

There’s no denying that in the past decade the world has become increasingly consumed with images. Many of us seek to define ourselves to others through them. Elsa Melero however sees images as a means of communication. She sometimes has a defined meaning and sometimes she is simply starting a dialogue that others may answer. It’s a very freeing use of her abilities for herself and for society. While she confirms that photography has become her vocation it’s much more of a requirement for her existence. Paying attention to the world around through a lens is a way to question and answer with one fell swoop.

Written by Kelly King

Elsa Melero Communicates with the Camera Eye Reviewed by JaamZIN on 3:11:00 PM Rating: 5
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