Art and design have always been at the center.
Some people know what they want from a very early age, and I am lucky to count myself as one of those people. Beginning with the High School of Art and Design in New York City and continuing to a Fine Arts degree in Photography, I always felt called to capture life through the lens.
My first real photo adventure as the Photojournalist for Greenpeace took me to an extraordinary world . I completed expeditions on the Rainbow Warrior in Russia, Tahiti, and Japan. This was a turning point for me. There was no time to “set up a shot” as taught in school – life was happening. It was happening fast. And I couldn’t get enough.
I learned to make quick decisions. I learned to tell stories in an instant, before they were gone. The lynchpin was becoming eternally aware of the environment around me, to dive into it and get to know it before I needed it.
My surroundings became the palette for my portraiture and life was captured for real.
To this day, and with an earthy intuitiveness, I tell the stories of my subjects using the environment as an extension of character and the journey. On the Vineyard, my home of 20 years now, this vision has reached into the portraiture of people, living local, food, and of course, the continuous celebrations that burst forth on this island.
The challenge I set for myself every time I pick up the camera: Where is the art? How do I bring forth the design?
Art and design must stay at the center. Of every subject I capture, of every story I tell, and – always – in the heart of the woman behind the camera.
Associate + Studio Manager
Melissa Knowles is an emerging professional photographer who brings her esteemed technical skills to Randi Baird Photography, in addition to her passion for arts therapy and her lifelong commitment to humanitarian efforts. At RBP Melissa contributes her gentle, yet professional demeanor to making clients feel comfortable in front of the camera and provides much-needed assistance in the studio through her work with editing, design, and studio management.
Melissa’s background includes artistic direction, education, and therapeutic arts practices, along with international experience in community development through the arts. Melissa’s compassionate and thoughtful approach allows life to spontaneously unfold before the camera, enabling her to authentically capture those fleeting, intimate moments that reveal the essence of heart and soul. Sensitive to the dynamics of her subjects and the healing potential of photography, she gives people the confidence to communicate themselves freely before the lens.