Self taught photographer, video and creative director Mel D. Cole, obtained his BA in Multidisciplinary Studies (Cinema and Cultural Studies & African American studies) in 2001 from Stony Brook University. He’s an avid soccer and Buffalo Bills fanatic that hails from Syracuse, NY who has been based in the NYC area since 1999. Cole has made his home in and around the boroughs of New York by consistently capturing all the city has to offer from the glamorous to the gritty.
Picking up the lens over ten years ago, he has found himself at the forefront of the NYC photography scene thus making resounding noise internationally via his website Villageslum.com and his portfolio meldcole.com
He has become known as the “house photographer” for the legendary Roots Crew and has been pinpointed by Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson as his favorite contemporary photographer some years back. In 2015, he added personal photographer for RnB superstar Trey Songz to his resume as well.
Over the years Cole’s vision has caught on with a variety of media outlets and personalities (print & online); having shot for Heineken, Hennessy, Budweiser, Mountain Dew, Nike, Puma, Converse, Wieden+Kennedy, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, Team Epiphany, Billboard.com, Okayplayer.com, Atlantic Records, Def Jam Records, Epic Records, Afro Punk Festival, Roots Picnic, Hot 97 Summer Jam, Vibe Magazine, ID magazine, Burton Snowboards, mogul Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, Etnies Skateboard, DC Skate, RapRadar.com, Magma (Japan), 10Deep, and countless other lifestyle brands, musicians and music outlets.
Not only has he found a home behind the camera, Cole is just as at home in front of the camera as well.
He has been featured in profile videos by various top brands.
* 2012-First shoppable Youtube Levis ad. (The other videos in the series starred former 2 time NBA MVP and World Champion Steph Curry and Little Dragon)
In 2012 he participated a 10 month brand ambassador sponsorship program with Heineken. During this time Cole, had his 1st exhibition in Los Angeles, California where Heineken was the sponsor.
In 2015 he exhibited he held the Big Black and Bold exhibition in Sydney, Australia.
His first coffee table photography book will be released in 2018.
Cole has also become known for his creative directing work and fashion collaborations.
* 2010-Leroy Jenkins x Villageslum Hat collaboration
* 2012-Karmoloop.com x Mel D. Cole- T shirt collaboration
* 2013-Flud Watches x Villageslum x Lisa Ann- Watch & calendar collaboration
* 2017-Umbro x Mel D. Cole Metropolis Soccer League collection -jersey & hat collaboration
His love for sports has led him to star in his first commercial for Crown Royal in September of 2017 as the role of a die hard Buffalo Bills fan along side millionaire entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.
For all of his life, Cole has been obsessed with music and sports but it had never included soccer. But that all changed and within the last 7 years he discovered and obtained an huge obsession for the sport. After having clocked in many hours studying the culture and watching countless matches he fell in love with the jerseys culture and he picked up a new souvenir habit during his international travels! It’s safe to say he is soccer crazed and this obsession could only lead to one thing: the creation his own shirts!
In Spring 2018, Mel D. Cole and Umbro will release a one of a kind, limited edition New York City inspired capsule called The Mel D. Cole Metropolis Soccer League collection. This collection is not just for admirers of the city of New York but for soccer and style fans all over the world. It brings that fire style for on and off the pitch!
Each team in the collection represents New York in a very special way, whether it's Real Bodega FC’s use of iconic New York City bodega symbolism to Empire FC’s use of the “big apple” as a soccer ball, this collection is fun, creative and has it all!
Queens Kings United F.C
Empire State FC
BK United FC
Real Bodega FC
The City FC