Melanie Friend

During the 1980s & 1990s Melanie Friend worked as a photojournalist and occasional radio reporter. Her later work as a documentary/landscape photographer has often focused directly or indirectly on war.

Friend was a Reader in Photography in the Department of Media, Film & Music at the University of Sussex (2003-2019) and was on the judging panels for the FotoDocument Awards and then the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award till 2021.

Friend’s photojournalistic work was published by a range of national newspapers, magazines, the anti-nuclear movement and other campaigns. She was a member of Format Photographers Agency from 1986 until the agency closed in 2003. In the early 1990s she combined her photography with print journalism (for The Guardian and The Times Educational Supplement among others) and radio features for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service.

From the mid 1990s Friend started making long term documentary projects, resulting in gallery exhibitions and books. Her exhibition Homes and Gardens: Documenting the Invisible, was first shown at Camerawork, London in 1996 before touring internationally. Using sound and image, it focused on the human rights abuses in Kosovo under the Milosevic regime. An accompanying publication, Homes and Gardens, was produced with the support of the Arts Council of England.Friend's book No Place Like Home: Echoes from Kosovo was published by Midnight Editions, USA, 2001 and was widely reviewed in the USA, UK and in Kosovo/a itself. 

Her exhibition Border Country, which used sound and image to document the experiences of asylum seekers in detention in the UK, opened at Belfast Exposed Photography, Belfast, in 2007 and toured till October 2010.

The Home Front exhibition, looking at the links between militarism, marketing and entertainment (from air shows to arms trade fairs) opened at Impressions Gallery as a solo show in 2013, and toured to international venues. The Home Frontbook (2013) was published by Dewi Lewis Publishing in association with Impressions Gallery.


Friend’s latest book, The Plain (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2020), focuses on the military landscape of Salisbury Plain.


Her archive is held at the Bishopsgate Institute, London. A selection of her photojournalism from the 1980s and 1990s is also available via Report Digital picture library.