We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Being consistently honest with myself about failure. I try to embrace it as much as possible, though it is hard to get over failure there is always another path that will lead me to greatness.

Preserving through adversity. It is hard out here for people that look like me, but I remember all the lives that impacted my life and would love to be an inspiration to others.

Staying humble and grounded. I am a learner in life with everything, and that makes me fall in love with life again, everyday. Self-care is important to my creative process, so I am very in-tune with my body, feelings and mental health.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a wide variety of arts I can do. Photography is one, but I also paint, do mixed media art, roller skate, and play guitar. Among those many things it took a while to determine that photography would remain in my life forever. I remember picking up a camera as a little girl, begging anyone in my family to get the film developed. Sometimes the images were not in focus, or too dark. Going into high school photography helped me document my 4 years, filling my room walls with all the images I took. This time the photos are in focus with added emotion. Going into college I was sure I was going to study Optometry to become an eye surgeon. Little did I know, I would end up at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Art school was brutal, but I had the best portfolio in my class. After graduating I took a break from photography. Going through life without my camera made me realize I need creativity to feel alive. After being in retail customer service for over 10 years, that made me appreciate my craft. Sad that it took so long to come back to my craft, but I am here and offer product and portrait photography. I focus on Black Owned Businesses for my product photography and occasionally free candid portraits for marketing purposes. My portrait photography is usually shoot on location, with the model, for fresh pictures for my website, but I do also work in studio as well: my cousin has a photo/video studio that he rents out to other artists and myself.

My brand is about building a community through photography, and building lasting relationships with Black Business Owners. I went to college for commercial photography and would love to be hired by some big businesses but they do not need my skills. My skill and my brand is for my community.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The best place to be in Georgia would be Atlanta!! Such rich history here I would walk them through Piedmont Park and hit the BeltLine for a Popsicle from King of Pops!! Take a bike ride down Ponce De Leon and stop by the Ponce City Market for food and drinks. You never know who you might see in Atlanta! Finally would end the night with an Adult Skate Session at Metro Fun Center, the usual session starting at 10pm ending at 2am. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Tendria Weeks really pushed me to start my LLC. I already have a B.F.A but took a break from photography. Watching her run her business, being inspired by the “Black Owned Business” and circulating Black Dollars in our community is what is keeping me going on my journey of entrepreneurship. Shoutout to God for allowing me to see 30 years of life. VERY BIG SHOUTOUT to my close family and friends that have supported me as well!

Website: www.mw-photo.net

Instagram: @mwphotonet

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/melissaawilliams

Facebook: www.facebook.com/melissawilliams

Image Credits
My personal image and the overlook image my boyfriend Delroy Sullivan took the images. The rest of the images Melissa Williams photographed herself.

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