Renowned portrait photographer Melanie Dunea is regularly published in Vanity Fair, Time, People, Redbook, and Ladies’ Home Journal magazines. She has photographed some of the most influential people in advertising, entertainment, and music around the globe.
Her book projects are her passionate and popular side interest. The bestseller, My Last Supper, explores the lives and recipes of the world’s top chefs. Her latest book, My Country, 50 Musicians on God, America & the Songs They Love explores the icons of country music.
Melanie lives in New York City and is represented by Creative Photographers Inc. In 2010 Operation Smile honored Melanie with the Universal Smile Award for her photographic and charitable contributions.
What sparked the idea for My Country: 50 Musicians on God, America and The Songs They Love (Rodale Books, October 2010)?
After completing a book about chefs called My Last Supper I wanted to examine another subject and world of people. My goal was to discover why country music is so popular and (why) people say it’s the heart and soul of America.
How long did it take you to photograph and put together the book?
From the moment I had the idea, to the research, to contacting the musicians, scheduling the shoots and interviews, the whole project took eight months. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
Can you share an interesting anecdote from the making of the book, perhaps a celebrity moment or a special insight that came from the process?
Shooting little Jimmy Dickens was the first time I have ever been taller than my subject and it felt fabulous!
Have you always wanted to be a photographer? How did you get your start?
Originally I wanted to be a newspaper reporter, my grandfather told me to learn how to take photos as no one would send a writer and shooter to cover a story. He was clearly very depression era minded but I’m glad he was.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
I try to think of all “detours” as positive.
What’s coming up next for you?
I have just finished a new book coming out in October 2011 called My Last Supper: The Next Course 50 Great Chefs and Their Last Meals.
A few fun questions…
What is your favorite comfort food and why?
Candy… Sugar Daddy’s, Milk Duds, Thorntons Chocolate Smothered Toffee, Dots, M&M’s, the list goes on and on….
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Hopefully I would be a song that was on key.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
I am tone deaf so I have no idea….
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Depends who asks.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
My pet goldfish from the school fair named “Ebony and Ivory.”
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For additional information about Melanie and her books, visit her website at http://www.melaniedunea.com/.
To purchase My Country: 50 Musicians on God, America, and the Songs They Love, logon to: