Photographs by Melani Lust
Melani Lust, one of Fairfield County’s most revered wedding photographers, has made a life and career out of immortalizing moments. “I am most inspired by expressive emotional connection and movement,” Lust says. “ [When] brides tell me that I have captured the true essence of her and her family members in an authentic way, I feel fulfilled.”
Lust—her father’s side of the family from Mexico, her mother’s from New England (“Mayflower descendants” Lust says)—may have cultivated this compassion for her subjects during her childhood. She proudly delves into her mother Anne’s renowned history as “Anita la Bonita” in the hills of Tijuana, where Melani and her family took quarterly trips to bring underprivileged Mexican families medication, school uniforms, food and books. “When we would go back, the families would thank us and tell us stories of how their lives had changed,” Lust remarks. “It was always very exciting.”
Lust’s photography career began when she took a dark room class as a high school sophomore in San Diego. Thereafter, she made a habit out of photographing family and friends, as well. After she graduated, Lust moved to New York to study modern dance at the Alvin Ailey School and became a professional dancer. Subsequently, she earned her BA in Art History and MA in Fine Arts from NYU. She further honed her craft by attending the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City.
Lust’s talents have taken her around the globe, and yet she chooses to spend a huge chunk of her time in Fairfield simply because she loves it here.
“There is a time of day at Fairfield Beach where the equestrians come to ride. It is one of the most beautiful sights in the world,” Lust wistfully recalls. “They ride their horses along the edge of the shore and I could watch them all day.”
She praises the Fairfield Museum and History Center for it’s keen and well-researched observance of local history, daydreams about the donut muffins, brownies, and cupcakes from Sweet & Simple, and hails Pure Barre Fairfield as “the best workout.” “I love Lake Mohegan, as well,” Lust says. “I have a dog, Franklin, who loves to run off-leash and play with other dogs. Lake Mohegan is one of my favorite places to take him.”
“Pizzeria Molto is always a fun time, too. Their pizza is fantastic and I love the Fellini films featured in the background,” Lust says. “The drinks are delicious and also unique.”
Lust, a pillar of impressive uniqueness herself, seems fit to judge.