Mel Bagshaw was born in the UK and has an extensive background in the Arts. He came to London to study Fine Art painting and gained a degree from Central Saint Martins. Afterwards he turned his attention to Illustration and had a successful freelance career working for major national and international clients. In tandem with his illustration career, he devised, designed and curated exhibitions for major galleries and museums, including The Victoria and Albert Museum. An increasing interest in photography led to the completion of a BA in Photography and then a Masters in fashion photography from the London College of Fashion, where he won the media award of the year.
Since becoming a freelance photographer he has pursued a singular vision with works that delve behind the ordinary and find the trauma, theatre and filmic possibilities beneath the surface. Bagshaw’s photographs adopt the language of fashion with their staged poses, constructed environments, attention to detail and careful choice of clothes and accessories. They are also influenced by imagery of reportage photography, the constructed tableaux of early photography, Renaissance and Victorian painting with their visual narratives, lighting and subtext. However as a whole his draws on a long tradition of romantic themes of suicide, tragic endings and noble deaths in art, literature, poetry, music, film and theatre.
The photographs take inspiration from classic childhood fears, turning ordinary environments into the unsettling and unexpected. This is a look behind the facades of respectable houses; beyond the high walls and security cameras where something dubious is taking place in the manicured lawns of suburbia. All of his photographs have elements of normality, in some sense even an idyllic scene, but perhaps only at first glance. They show something familiar but with a dark twist, an uncomfortable feeling and a sense of unease. “I am inspired by trying to unlock all those dark places where images of childhood memories linger’” says Bagshaw. “These images, like fragments from a movie, are what I attempt to capture with a combination of concept, light and colour.