MELISSAMember-Owner since 2002
#MyNextStep?Sharing more of the majesty of Alaska
I’m so lucky my parents moved to Alaska before I was born because I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. One of my earliest memories, as a toddler, was walking out our garage door to a moose standing in the yard and being amazed that this was home. The diversity of Alaska is truly majestic and never stops inspiring me.
It was that amazement and my love of nature that got me started toying around with my mom’s digital camera when I was young, taking pictures of all the things I discovered outdoors. In college, my parents bought me my first DSLR camera and I couldn’t stop expanding and learning from there. After years of friends and family telling me I should start selling my photos, in 2017, I decided to bite the bullet and made it official with my MJ Meade Photography business license.
There was a huge learning curve discovering all the things I needed to know to run a small business. One thing I knew for sure was that I needed a business checking account and credit card. Luckily, I had been a True North Member-Owner for almost 20 years and trusted the staff like friends and family, so I knew who to turn to. They told me exactly what I needed to get started and helped me put all the pieces together. This enabled me to focus on what I love to do – be in nature, especially the mountains, enjoying the little parts of the Alaskan wilderness that not everyone gets to see.
When I take a photo of something - a group of Dall Sheep 13 miles up a mountain or a tiny little Pika I stumbled across – I get so excited and want to share it with everyone, thinking of all the people that may not get to see these things otherwise. That’s what I love most about what I do.
My business also lets me share my work with causes I care deeply about. I work with the Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation, donating photography to support their mission. And one of my favorite times of year, every year, is the Annual Fur Rondy in Anchorage. I get so excited to be a part of it all, capturing moments and then having those pictures to share with people from Alaska and beyond that have no idea what it’s all about! I also was able to be even more a part of True North when I had the winning entry for the 2020 calendar with my fox eyes photograph.
All photographers have that one shot they’re looking to get. Most recently, my shot was of a young black bear fishing, with a salmon in it’s mouth, frozen in movement, all with the bear looking straight at my camera. I all but got that shot this summer and will keep trying to perfect it. That’s the thing with photography and a subject like Alaska, there’s always more to see, try and accomplish. So, when I think about my next step, it’s simple. I want to grow my business, expand my skills and continue to share the majesty of Alaska with everyone!