As one of Canada's very few large format photographers, Kevin J Mellis started creating photographs as an art form after graduating from the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts in March 2012. He initially learned photography using a digital camera and then transitioned to an analog process in the later part of 2012. He now exclusively uses a large format view camera to create all of his work. His motivation for this shift stems directly from a profound need to connect more deeply to both his artistic process and to his subjects. His artistic intention is to create images that evoke a deep sense of emotionality, timeless sensibility and also to open up an important dialogue about the fragility of life. His work is heavily influenced by his concurrent profession as a Medical Social Worker in the largest trauma centre in Southern Alberta. He works directly with individuals and their families who often find themselves in utter crisis stemming from unexpected illnesses and physical traumas: car accidents, shootings, and stabbings for instance. Sadly, such incidences often lead to life-altering severe injuries and even death. He has been a witness to thousands of deaths since 2007 when he first joined the trauma team. He also draws considerable artistic influence from great master photographers, such as Sally Mann, Andrea Modica, Alec Soth and Sebastião Salgado.
Moreover, he also places particular importance on the overall photographic process of how he methodically and meticulously creates each image. A large format view camera is big, heavy and completely manual. All of these elements working within concert and harmony allows him to slow his mind down, which in turn opens up more opportunities for him to explore the finer details of life; such finer details that one often forgets about or overlooks entirely. He seeks a profound sense of tranquility and deep reflection within these quiet moments of solitude, all of which allows him to move to a deeper place of emotional engagement. In essence, his work is a blend between reality and artistic exploration that continually nurishes his body, mind and spirit.