Melissa Farlow dreamed about horses when she was young girl and wrote a heart-felt letter to Roy Rogers asking him to send her Trigger. The following year her parents gave her a docile, one-eyed, old cow pony that chewed tobacco and ate watermelon rinds whom she adored.
Farlow has worked extensively in the American West for the National Geographic Society driving 20,000 miles to photograph public lands and a project on mustangs where she encountered wild horse herds in Nevada, California, Oregon, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Besides 15 projects for National Geographic magazine, Farlow photographed for two books -- Wild Lands of the West and The Long Road South.
Farlow won a Pulitzer Prize with photo staff of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, and her portfolio was awarded honors while she worked at the Pittsburgh Press. She moved to freelance where besides Geographic, she is published in Smithsonian, GEO, LIFE, Sierra and National Geographic Traveler magazines and more than 40 books by various publishers. In addition, she has photographed projects for the Heinz Endowments and the Ford Foundation. Her images are recognized in multiple national and international competitions, and she was recently named into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
Farlow received journalism degrees from the University of Missouri where she taught photojournalism classes, and from Indiana University where in 2012 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award. She and her husband, Randy Olson, also a longtime National Geographic contributing photographer have traveled to over 50 countries in the past 20 years on assignments. In addition, they lecture, teach workshops and are on the faculty of the Missouri Photo Workshop.