The Meaning of Life in 10 Questions… Melissa Hennessy

There are some of truly creative people in this industry. Let’s face it, you’ve got to be constantly concepting, developing, and executing or you get left in the dust. I’m fortunate to work with some really dynamic and inspiring people, ranging from art directors, to producers, to creative directors, photo editors, art buyers, and print producers. Instead of questions about email blasts, printed promos, and portfolio reviews, I think that it’s time that I put some of them on the spot to show us their meaning of Life. “The meaning of Life” may be a little far flung to answer in only ten questions, but hopefully these interviews will serve to distill some of the inspired and intellectual energy of the creatives that we work with.

chris crisman melissa hennessy photographer photography

I met Melissa back in late 2009. We clicked from day one and working with her never felt like work. Not once did I ever doubt her devotion to our relationship. Melissa was flexible and always helped out with whatever was most necessary at the time. She is incredibly motivated and we had an wonderful experience growing together. I am thankful that she took me on as my first agent and happy to know that we will remain close as we both move on with our respective ventures. Thank You Melissa.

1. Name one actress in one movie to represent you as a teenager?

That’s a tough one since I was more of a Tomboy.  Let’s go with Mary Stewart Masterson in Some Kind of Wonderful.

2. What is your preferred vehicle or mode of transportation?

Walking or bike riding – both are slow & let you “take in more.”  But living in Chicago – nothing beats the heated seats of my car in the winter!

3. What is your favorite beverage for creative inspiration?

Coffee…definitely coffee.

4. Name your favorite band/singer and album?

Right now I’m listening to the Black Keys.  I grew up with a musical family & we played everything from Jazz & Blues to Reggae & Rock.  I’d be singing Etta James “At Last” one minute,  & Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” the next.

5. How did you get where you are today?

Hard work & perseverance, but most importantly, with the support of family & friends.  No one ever told me I couldn’t do something, so I believed it.

(Melissa & the Crisman Photo team in Florida, Feburary 2011)

6. Where do you source your inspiration?

Art museums, magazines, documentaries, european art.  Inspiration comes from so many places, especially conversation.  Sometimes it comes from within during absolute silence.

If I can share something personal – some of my best inspiration comes in the shower.   It’s the only time I don’t have all of the extraneous noise, so I keep waterproof crayons handy & write on the walls thoughts I can’t immediately put to paper.

7. What is your philosophy on creating?

I think it’s something you have to do daily, even if it’s not related to your craft.

8. Describe a defining moment in your career that has led you to where you are today?

Moving to NYC in 1991. I was trusting Sinatra that if I could make it there, I could make it anywhere.  Sounds cliche, but my experiences there were life changing.   I don’t believe you have to be in a big city to be successful, but it doesn’t hurt to spend a little time in one to help you discern how you want to live & where, and the work ethic you’ll adopt.

9. Name one photographer that you’d love to work with but haven’t yet?

Hard question. There are many, but Julia Fullerton-Batten comes to mind.

10. If the world was ending in 2012, how will you change your life plan?

I’d pack up the family & travel to every country we have roots or ancestry in.  If the world ended tomorrow, I’d still be happy with what each day has brought thusfar.


As you may have picked up on, we will very soon be announcing our partnership with our new agent. We’re incredibly excited, check back in the next few days for the official announcement.



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