Taking photos, taking gold

Melody Ballinger - gold medal winning photographer

Story by: Alexis Garrison, Staff Artist and Design Team

Two passions combined into one gave Melody Ballinger a gold-winning entry in the Scholastic Art Awards. Her passion for photography led her to capture her love for playing the violin in her award-winning piece, “The Girl Behind the Violin.”

Ballinger’s self-portrait, recently displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts on Feb. 20, will advance to the national competition in New York City. Ballinger has loved photography all her life, and took up her budding career due to her mother’s inspiration.

“[My mom] majored in art history, and she was a good photographer and minored in photography,” Ballinger said. “She always took pictures of me, and I thought ‘I want to be just like her and take photos of everything I see.’”

Even though she had loving support from her family, Ballinger still could not stop doubting herself when it came to the competition.

“I was so worried, because the judges were so intense,” Ballinger said. “I thought I would fail, because it was my first time. I was so happy when I made it; I almost started crying.”

Ballinger’s piece, along with six other entries from the Cy-Fair district, will compete nationally in New York City.

“I love New York; it’s my dream to live there,” Ballinger said. “A piece of mine going to New York is like a piece of me going to New York. I get chills every night.”

Her developing career does not stop there. Ballinger plans on making herself big in the  photography industry.

“I want to be a wedding photographer and a child photographer,” Ballinger said. “I’m going to continue all four years [of high school], because I love it.”