Helping to cement Melbourne’s reputation as one of the county’s most picturesque towns is photographer John Madeley.
His beautiful photographs of the architecture in the town covered with a seasonal blanket of snow are irresistably festive.
John, who is a hairdresser with a salon in the centre of Melbourne just a few doors away from his own home in a converted chapel, has been taking photographs since he was a boy when he became intrigued by his father’s Box Brownie.
Most of his pictures and cine films have been taken to record family events but he also has a penchant for interesting buildings which is one of the reasons he moved to Melbourne from Burton upon Trent 25 years ago.
“I love old buildings and when I first came here I just thought it felt right – it is just such a wonderful place. It felt like home and I knew I would be happy here,” he said.
By strange coincidence he has recently discovered, while researching his family tree, that his links to the town and his home go back much further.
“One of my ancestors was a preacher and actually held services in the chapel where I live. I could hardly believe it when I was told but it has given me a stronger sense of connection to the place,” he said.
For the first few years he lived in the town he was still commuting to Burton, but 15 years ago he decided to change his hectic lifestyle and he opened a smaller salon in Melbourne’s High Street.
It was then that he also found time to get more involved in the local community and he joined the Melbourne Photographic Society.
“I have always been interested in art, painting and photography but never thought I would be able to earn a living from it, so turned to hairdressing as an outlet for my creativity.
“I have always taken photographs but when I saw the work on display at one of the society’s shows I just thought ‘I want to take pictures like those’.
“I got talking to some of the members and joined them for a taster session and have been a member ever since. It is a very relaxed group and you can learn a lot from the others and the talks.”
It was a lecture at the society that inspired John to try out high dynamic range imaging (HDR) which basically means that you digitally merge pictures taken with different exposures to give pictures a more painterly look.
Armed with his camera and a tripod he has used the technique to great effect to capture these images of Melbourne.
He is not a photographer who shuns technology and welcomes the creative avenues it opens up for him. His next mission is to experiment more with his new iPhone 6S which he says offers amazing new opportunities to record high quality pictures and videos.
A lively dog named Poppy, who was a new addition to John’s household last year, has meant that he has had less time to get out his camera while on walks, but he says she is quietening down a bit now so he is hoping to get back to his hobby.
“I really do want to discover more about the iPhone 6S camera and see if I can take something special with it.
“Technology is always changing and I really enjoy the challenge of learning more and seeing how far you can go with it.”
Melbourne Photographic Society meets every Thursday evening between late September and the end of April from 7.30pm until 10pm in the Thomas Cook Memorial Hall, High Street Melbourne. Go to melbournephotographicsociety.org.uk for more details.
If you want to buy prints of John’s photographs call into the Flaxen Hair Salon where he will be delighted to see you.