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Melinda Welch Is Off and Shooting, Already Showing What She Can Do

A swimsuit shopping trip got Melinda Welch started in photography.  Now, as a fine art senior, she’s ready to dive into photography full-time and is already participating in her first show downtown.

Date: 6/27/2005
By: Mary Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot When Melinda Welch, 25, was six years old, she went shopping for a swimsuit and came home with a camera. 

“It was a promotion where the store was giving away a free camera of some sort with a swimsuit purchase.  I remember that the swimsuit was hideous, but I didn’t care because I got a free camera,” she recalls. 

Melinda uses a twins-lens reflex camera for a detail shot of a tree.

Sadly, the camera didn’t actually work but her parents quickly gave Melinda an old model they had on hand and her love of photography developed quickly.  Later, when she was a teenager, Melinda also took photography classes at the Art Academy, and it would have seemed that her future profession was etched in black and white. 

However, Melinda, now a resident of Walnut Hills, wanted to explore other options, first thinking about teaching and then about entering the ministry.  She actually earned a degree in theology before a crisis of “what do I really want to be when I grow up?” hit her full force.

“In school, I had learned Greek in order to read the New Testament in that language, and I began realizing that the way many translations choose to delineate the text today isn’t what the earlier versions actually said.  Some of the translations defining a narrower role for women didn’t seem justified to me if translated honestly.  I had been going to a school that espoused very conservative translations, and I realized that I didn’t believe this stuff.  I went ahead and finished my degree in 2003, but then I had to really decide what I wanted to do with my life,” Melinda says.

Almost as therapy, Melinda took up the camera again as a way to acquire insight into her own life, beliefs and dreams.  “I see photography as a way of communicating feelings, things that can’t be spoken, things on a deeper level with myself and with others.  At the time, it seemed my only avenue for doing so -- especially since I can’t paint,” she quips. 

Melinda hasn’t put her camera down since, and in the fall of 2004, she enrolled in UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning as a fine-arts major in order to build her photography portfolio.  She’s been  amazed at the clarity -- and success -- she’s come to enjoy. 

For instance, Melinda is currently included in a black-and-white photography exhibit at The Foundation Gallery located at 200 W. Fourth Street downtown.  Eleven of her images are in the five-artist exhibit, and some have even sold.  “But the best part is knowing that I am communicating, and people are emotionally responding to the images… unless, of course, it’s only my parents who are secretly buying them in order to support me,” she laughs.

For more on the ongoing exhibit, “Shadows & Light,” that includes Melinda’s work, go to http://www.greatercincinnatifdn.org/page514.cfm


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