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Melanie Gillis
Fine Art Photographer


Melanie Gillis has a unique background in fashion, psychology, and fine art. She has completed fine art courses and an Honours B.Sc. in psychology, with a focus on eating behaviour, at the University of Toronto. During university, Melanie worked as a photographer's assistant, mainly in the fashion industry - an ironic juxtaposition, academically studying eating disorder, and at the same time, working in an environment where eating disorders were common place. "My time in the fashion industry was the most unhealthy I have ever been" says Melanie. "I was at least ten pounds under weight, and I thought I was fat. Even though I learned a lot, I remember it as a very sad time."

As Melanie completed her degree, she left the fashion industry and started a Masters degree at the University of Guelph. "Guelph was truly uplifting" she says. "I was struck by the warmth and openness of people here. Guelphites are comfortable in their skin - a refreshing change from the world of fashion."

During grad school, Melanie continued photography, and began working for Guelph photographer and friend Trina Koster. By the end of her first term of study, she realized that photography was her calling. "I had just enough money in the bank to pay for my second term." she says. "It was also just enough to buy lighting equipment and a decent camera. I went for door number two, and have not looked back since."

Melanie's photographic interests have centered on portraiture and figure work. Although her fashion background shows slightly in the clean, polished look of her black and white portraits, her work is, in most ways, opposite to fashion. She specializes in family portraiture and maternity photography, with a distinct style that has evolved through warm, casual interaction with her subjects as everyday people.

Breast of Canada has been a wonderful way to promote positive body image for women of all ages and backgrounds. "For me as a photographer, this project has been a fantastic creative experience. For me as a woman, it has done wonders for my own body image. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this project with everyone".


Contact Sue Richards at [email protected]

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