Photographer setting up shop in Silver City

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SILVER CITY — New Zealand born photographer and illustrator Frances Melhop, voted “One of the World’s 200 Best Advertising Photographers 2009/2010”″by Luerzers Archive, will bring her skills and talents to the Resident Artist Program in Silver City this winter. She’ll set up a temporary studio at the Silver City School House in January, photographing some of the town’s longtime residents for a future exhibition at the Haldan Art Gallery in Tahoe.

Based in Australia for a decade, then in Milan, Italy for the next decade, Melhop is well known in Europe and the South Pacific as a creator of extraordinary and unique imagery in the fashion and advertising arena. Her photographs have appeared in European magazines such as Vogue Italia, Vogue France, British Vogue, and Glamour, to Face, ID, Purple, Marie Clarie Italia, Elle, Vogue Pelle, Vogue Gioello, and D della Repubblica.

Photographs from Frances’ fairytale inspired series — which she describes as “an imaginary world of tall-tales, dreams, games of scale, surreality and story-telling” — have been exhibited in Paris, Cannes, Rome, Albuquerque, Virginia City and Reno.

Now living in Nevada, Frances has continued to produce outstanding work on the Comstock and beyond, including portraits of Virginia City residents, and panoramic portraits of the Burning Man arts and music festival.

At the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Melhop studied Psychology, German language, Philosophy and Political Science, then studied technical photography for three years at the Sydney Institute of Technology, Australia. With courses soon to be completed at the University Nevada Reno School of Fine Art, she plans to teach at the university level in the U.S.

“Frances has also been the inspiration for the design of the visiting artist program here in Silver City,” said Quest Lakes, director of the resident artist program in Silver City. “While director at St. Mary’s Art Center in Virginia City, Northern Nevada Development Authority named Frances ‘Innovator of the Year’ within a five-county region. The well-deserved award stemmed from her extraordinary work through the Art Center. She introduced new talent to the region, showcased Nevada artists, and found grants and donations for programming, artists and restoration of the historic building.

During her time at St. Mary’s, she revitalized the Art Center with a new website, a high quality Resident Artist program, and curation of more than 30 exhibitions each year. She’s a role model for some of the things my husband (Theo McCormick) and I would like to develop at the Program in Silver City.”

What is the Resident Artist Program? A multi-faceted visiting artist program is developing in the small but vibrant community of Silver City, providing a venue for those from other parts of the U.S. and the world to engage with the community and the region through the arts. Silver City is located on the Comstock, within one of the nation’s largest federally designated historic landmarks. Recently declared an “Arts and Culture Resources Production Center,” Silver City is already home to a surprising number of Nevada’s highly productive artists, musicians, photographers, writers, actors, artisans, and academics. Those creating in the performing, visual, media, or literary arts are being invited to reside for up to four months at McCormick House, a geodesic dome designed in the 1970s by Nevada artist Jim McCormick. As part of the residency, visiting artists offer free public performances, exhibitions, readings and workshops in the community.


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