Miguel de Melo is a Portuguese Photographer and Digital Artist with a passion for nature. A Data Architect by day, he is well established outside of the 9-5 as a Digital Artist and Live Music Photographer. Moving to Tottenham Hale in 2016 where most of his studio work took place, he swapped the Marshes and Canal sides for the leafy greenery of Sydenham Hill during lockdown and discovered a whole new natural world by Sydenham woods. 

How long have you lived in the area? 

Since the beginning of lockdown – Feb/March 2020. 

What brought you here? 

Love. Claire and I met before lockdown and lived in separate locations, we decided at the time it would be more practical for me to move to Sydenham Hill temporarily due to travel restrictions. 

What has changed most during that time? 

Noise pollution and volume of traffic. During lockdown there was a mesmerizing calm floating in the air, felt almost as if time had stopped and we were living in an alternate reality. Since lockdown restrictions were lifted the noise of cars, motorbikes, buses, have added to the roaring murmur of this concrete jungle we live in, clearly reflecting the busy lives that surround us. 

What do you most value about the area/street you live in? 

It’s been amazing to get an opportunity to gain so much experience in macro photography in this area, it was an overwhelming experience finding new species and subjects every day during lockdown. Now as part of the Dulwich Festival ‘Artists’ Open House’, we are opening the garden where I took thousands of photos during that period and showcasing a large collection of the best photos. The social media response I got during lockdown was overwhelming, so we thought it was a fabulous idea to share my images with the community in the space they were taken. 

What one thing would you change? 

I would love to see the bridge in Sydenham Woods fixed and opened back to the public, finding a way that wouldn’t damage the trees. It’s such a shame it’s been closed for so long. I get the sense everyone would really like to use it. 

What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without? 

Sourdough bread from the Butchery in Forest Hill. It’s the best. 

Describe your perfect weekend 

If I was to spend my perfect weekend in Forest Hill, I would surely be popping to East Dulwich to buy some Cheese, and then visit the market. After a walk in the Sydenham Woods with Oscar the black Lab, I’d come back home to enjoy a lovely barbecue with the family. Pop to central London in the evening to meet friends. Sunday either get some lovely breakfast from Canvas & Cream or a gastro pub lunch at the Signal, followed by a relaxed rest of the day. 

If money was no object.. 

Probably set up a woodturning workshop and a Photography studio big enough to photograph horses and aeroplanes. 

The book I’m reading at the moment..

The Nepalese Shamanic path 

My secret ambition.. 

To become a woodturner crafter extraordinaire with a resin embalming twist 

Follow Miguel’s wildlife photography on Instagram @migshoots 

Come and visit Miguel’s exhibition during the Artists’ Open House weekends as part of the Dulwich Festival