Austrian Photographer, Mela (Life is Beautiful Photography) – February 2012

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 01.02.2012

This month we interview an Austrian photographer, who creates ethereal images of abandoned places. Many of you will know her as Mrs. Monster or Life is Beautiful Photography….. let’s find out more about Mela…..

1.Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, the last few years I was very busy with re-educating myself. That was a hard time, but now I’m through it.


I’ve managed to live from my photoshop-skills, which I learned from one of the best currently in Vienna I guess. I had the chance to work for a successful postprocessing studio, before that I worked for a commercial/society-photographer. As you can see in my photo-history on flickr, my style of postprocessing changed a lot in short time. At the start I preferred simple dark room shots…..


… I like more staged/managed scenarios, and meanwhile I know how to handle HDR’s, hahaha


Unfortunately I haven’t had time to explore a lot. I think that has to change in 2012. I have some ideas which I have to implement soon.

2. What came first for you, exploring or photography?

Definitely photography was first. Of course I already explored the unknown areas or things in my childhood but not in context with photography.I started shooting abandoned surroundings through my graffiti friends. I had enough time to explore the locations while they were finishing their pieces.

3. What’s in your kit bag when you go exploring? And If money was no option, what kit would you buy?

I have my eos50d, a Canon wide-angle 10-22mm, 50mm Canon 1.8, and I use the Samyang 8mm fisheye from Mr. Monster as well.


Also I have a 150-500mm telelense from Sigma, which I only use for moon and animal shots, it’s not that useful for urbexing.

If money was no option, I’d experiment a lot! But. first I’d have to go for a new tripod (mine is really crap).

4. Where do you get your ideas for your creative work from? Pick a favourite image, give your reasons why it’s a favourite and talk us through your work-flow for it?

My first contact with urbex photography was from, I think it inspired me a lot to visit more and more locations.When I came on flickr, Andre Govia was one of the first who I have known and remembered his photos. After a while there were more and more darkside urbex photos to see.Actually I only have a few favorite picture of mine, because I’m never satisfied with the processing.
If I have to choose one of my own pictures as favorite then i think this one…..


…..because it really turned out well as a single HDR, and I keep the mystery as to how it was created. There is no complicated processing or much effort behind this picture and thats what I like.

About the workflow: I only used my brain at shooting (its not always like that), Photoshop and Photomatix.

5. Where would you like photography to take you? (career etc.) Are there any photographers that inspire you and why?

Like I already mentioned I made it to pay my bills from it, but my purpose is to become more than only an assistant in the future. Especially to do my own stuff and get paid for it… hahaha why not?


Some photographers that inspired me: Jan Saudek, Igor Kostin, Joel-Peter Witkin, JR Photography, Lucien Clergue. There are also a lot of artists who had influence like: Kris Kuksi, Greg Craola Simkins, a lot of graffiti-artist and of course h.r. giger like i think for many of us.

Most important the urbex-photographers like: Mr. Monster, Critical Mass, a!med, Frits Vrielink, Static Pulse, odins raven, Bertus, ivo, uselesspsychic and many more……….

6. What is it that you enjoy most about exploring?

I love to travel and even more if I can visit beautiful abandoned places, also I enjoy the company.



7. What is your dream location to explore, past or present?

angkor watt, hashima, devils island/french guayana

8. What’s your most memorable explore and why?

I haven’t seen that much locations like the other urbexers but for me on top is Noisy, BE. It was a perfect exploring day with everything included: much fun, good people (THANK YOU GUYS FOR THE GOOD TIME), action, police, fighting against acrophobia handicap, very very funny group shots and of course the pollen falling down from the trees.

9. Generally, there are more guys that are into exploring than girls…… how do you find that?

This is a mens world, but it would be nothing without the few girls…


10.Have you got any top tips for new explorers?

Be quiet! take care.


11.What are your UE plans for 2012?

Romania sounds good, but maybe france first?

12. Who would you like to see interviewed as Guest of the Month?

I’d like to hear Jim Havocs aka A!M3D story. I really love his style of processing. the composing of colours in his photos is just beautiful. I can identify my taste in his pictures, he also gave me good advice when I was a beginner. Thanks again mr

Thank you to Mela, for her great answers…. you can view more of her awesome images in her Flickr photostream.


#1mr.monsterFebruary 2, 2012, 10:50 am

Yeah came out great.
Well done Girls! 😀

#2MelaFebruary 3, 2012, 3:24 pm


Lucy, thank you, love it how you arrange the pics, fits sooo good!!! superwell done!
Thanks C. for the comment!

#3Jip (Raven)February 19, 2012, 5:50 pm

Awesome article.
Your way of photography is original, breathtaking and mindblowing! You know what you’re doing and just love the mystic, surreal and dramatic photos. Always inspiring, thanks for that.

#4TychoaptatoMay 30, 2012, 2:38 am

Who and where to arrange this summer on fair, appropriation your information.

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