Melody Sky 2023

A touch of wonder in a brutal world

Claude Hervé-Bazin
Melody Sky
Winter 2023-2024

Melody Sky’s photos are everywhere in Verbier. In 20 years, the young Scot has carved out a considerable niche with her powerful images that evoke that eternal Alpine spirit. From Scotland to Switzerland, and almost everywhere in between, this nature-driven photographer lives for adventure.

She took her first photo when she was just four years old and had her first camera by age nine. For as long as she can remember, Melody Sky has loved pressing the shutter and capturing images. With a mother who loved photography and a father who loved the outdoors, her path as an adventurer-photographer was practically predestined, with only a few twists and turns. She trained as a marine biologist and a diving instructor, then was an ice diving guide at Lac de Tignes (FRA) until she had her first taste of the mountains and never looked back (an irony that is not lost on her, as she left her native Scotland to seek milder climates). A few years later, Melody arrived in Verbier, Australian diploma in hand, as a filmmaker specialized in the outdoors.

Explorer and dreamer
As a female filmmaker and adventure photographer, Melody already stands out from the crowd. Add to that the fact that she’s a diver, rock climber, skier, and cyclist, always comfortable and ever alert, ready to skilfully jump from one terrain to another, and you start to understand how special she truly is. “I’m not an athlete,” she says, “but I’m careful about never slowing down the pros,” all while capturing unforgettable images and carrying at least 13-15 kilos of equipment on her back. Is it tough being a woman in her field? “It can actually work in our favour to help lower testosterone levels, just a little,” she says with a laugh. “But on every expedition that I’ve been part of, I’ve always been sure to carry my own weight,” she added.

“The mountains are so expansive, powerful, grandiose, beautiful, and ever-changing with the weather and light. I love sunrise and sunset. I love looking at the sky, filled with stars. Taking a step away from our manmade world reminds me how small I really am and how vulnerable our existence is when we’re surrounded by the vast expanse of the natural world.” Melody’s words perfectly reflect her work. She’s someone who actually walks the walk and has a ripple effect on others, as she shines a light on beauty and inspiration, igniting a desire to explore.

The next evolution
For Melody, photography is a voyage, not a destination. Her favourite photo? “It hasn’t been taken yet.” But in her quest to find it, the projects are lining up, currently being driven by constraints on global energy and travel and her desire to reduce her carbon footprint. Fewer helicopters, fewer planes. More boats, more of Switzerland. The balance isn’t always clear cut, but abandoning her work simply isn’t an option. “The world would just be so different if we stayed in one place. We have to question our perspectives and the way we live.” She’s also driven by a desire to share her experiences in a constructive way. This vision comes to life through photography workshops she hosts in Kenya, where she teaches the local people of the Masai Mara photography as a way to share their unique perspectives, and in Verbier, where she leads adventure workshops in collaboration with Basecamp Events and a slew of scientists and experts (glaciologists, astronomers) who bring a deeper understanding of the natural world to every photography outing.

After 20 years in Verbier, most of which were spent living there fulltime, Melody says she’s home. “Recently, in London, I was speaking French with some Parisians who heard my accent and asked me where in Switzerland I was from. Apparently, I have a local accent now,” she laughed, “and I couldn’t be more proud.”