A Chance of Love is a new series of photographic portraits by the artist Mel McVeigh (b.1973, Australia) where on her Tinder dating proﬁle she simply asked, ‘Can I take your portrait?’ This series is a visual conversation to that request. These portraits are of the men who said yes to a date and yes to a portrait. Sometimes the portrait was taken within 30 minutes of meeting, at other times on the second or third date. The series is published as a photobook and was exhibited at BSMT Space, London from 10 – 14 May 2023.
This is a story of ﬁrst dates, maybe a ﬁrst kiss, sometimes a little bit more or often nothing more than friendship. A night out never to be repeated and most importantly, every encounter a chance of love. All the men agreed to open themselves up to a level of vulnerability as part of the dating and portraiture process.
Photographed over an 18 month period, between 2021 and 2022, towards the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, in Spain, France, Australia and the UK. The men blend across culture, beyond location and come from, Spain, Portugal, Colombia, Belgium, Ireland, UK.
The exhibition and photobook reflects on the search for connection ﬁltered through screens and algorithms, which illustrate the banal stereotypes and male Tinder typologies. Users endlessly glide and swipe from right to left and from left to right, making snap decisions based on a photo with that decision having the power to transform their future lives.
As McVeigh says of the work, “This series has been a personal journey back into the world of dating as well as photographic practice. As one of my dates said to me – you have exposed me. This is something technology will never understand. If you want to ask people to be naked in front of your camera, you have to be ready to do it yourself.”
The photobook A Chance of Love acts as a companion to the exhibited portraits and includes portraits, poems and WhatsApp conversations between the artist and the men she dated. All the men agreed to share these personal conversations. They have been anonymised and not redacted to create an interesting non-linear storyline of what two people in private talk about in the quest for intimacy. Navigating the need to be desired.
The book can be read front to back, back to front, its story started anywhere and one which could be reflective of any relationship, even the reader’s own.
The blending of worlds, visual storytelling, data and algorithms, reveals how McVeigh’s experience lives across two worlds. She is a visual storyteller who also works as a product designer and technologist designing the algorithms that she inherently challenges.
Through her work, McVeigh is interested in exploring relationships, connection with each other and with ourselves littered with a sense of ageing. Her art positions itself in the realm of conception, redesign and reimagination.
About Mel McVeigh
Mel McVeigh (b.1973, Australia) is an artist based in London working with photography, poetry and image. Her work lies between visual narrative and digital technologies and algorithms.
McVeigh is VP Product, Global Brands and Commerce at Condé Nast. She leads the digital portfolio across 9 brands in 10 markets: Vogue, GQ, Condé Nast Traveller, Architectural Digest, House + Garden, World of Interiors, Allure, SELF, Glamour.
In her early career McVeigh was an award winning artist and photo art director. She has exhibited in solo and group shows in London, Madrid, Paris, Sydney and Melbourne. McVeigh has a Masters of Fine Art – Photography from Monash University, Australia in addition to a Bachelor or Arts and Diploma in Illustrative Photography. Now after a 15 year break she is returning to photography and considers herself a reemerging artist.
Mel McVeigh : A Chance of Love
Photography and text Mel McVeigh
Self-Published Price £40.00
First edition 500 copies
Format Softcover and Perfect bound
Book design and layout Mel McVeigh
Dimensions 180 x 250mm
Languages English, Spanish and French