Melanie West was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She grew up on a ranch near the Cerrillos Hills. Her work has been influenced by her large family, the arts, and the desert space around her. Her studies at Lake Forest College, north of Chicago, included English, journalism and fine art.
Axle Contemporary invited her to exhibit in Axle Indoors at Peters Projects and in Autophotography. The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and Community Gallery selected her to participate in the group art and poetry show Odes & Offerings. She was included in the Through The Lens exhibit at The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe and is in the award-winning book. She participated in the Contemporary Santa Fe photography show at the Santa Fe Community College and was selected for the Amici Della Galleria show at Verve Fine Arts in Santa Fe. Other exhibits include the juried group shows High and Dry at Texas Tech University, PhotoAustin VI of women photographers at IDEA gallery and Viewpoint 2005 at the Bosque Conservatory in Texas. One woman shows were at The Tybie Satin Davis Gallery in Santa Fe and at City Hall with the Austin Art in Public Places program. Additional group shows include the Women and Their Work gallery, the Eli Levin Studio, Hat Ranch Gallery, and Guadalupe Cultural Arts. Her work is in various private collections, The New Mexico Photo Archives and The Austin History Center.