Melissa Zexter was born in Rhode Island, currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Photography from New York University/International Center of Photography. Combining hand-stitched embroidery with photography, she creates layers of narrative and texture over a flat surface. The sewn patterns and intricate puzzles are colored textured drawings, which serve as webs and grids over the photographs, providing another dimension to the images. Her portraits and figurative work explore identity and representations of femininity. The use of embroidery is a reaction to the photographs and is a process that aids in the transformation of identity of the person or place being photographed. Melissa takes and prints all of her photographs. Some of them are digital prints and others are gelatin silver prints made in a darkroom. The thread acts as a connection between the person and the artist or place that she has photographed. She always thinks of the photograph as something from the past and the thread as a reaction to the past and present.