It all started by the water’s edge, in Auchenblae, near Aberdeen, and then in Cornwall, where she spent part of her childhood with her surfer father and artistically inclined mother, a part-time photographer, whose passions she inherited. No sooner had she finished school than she took off for Cyprus and a diving club, before venturing to Turkey, Egypt and the Caribbean. Gripped by the travel bug, she was also in love with the sea, chasing after sharks, having seen one from the beach when she was a child.
She was 22 when she arrived in Tignes, where she found a job that was a little bit out of the ordinary: an ice diving guide. Day after day, Melody would pull out a chainsaw or ice pick and cut holes in the surface of the resort’s icy lake for clients to slide through. Her highlights of the whole experience were making bubbles beneath the surface and making the clients laugh by walking upside down on the underside of the ice. Having settled in the mountains, it was only to be expected that Melody would want to strap on some skis. Falling in love with freeriding after watching a film about it, she had the sudden impulse to give it a go, undeterred by the fact she knew nothing about it. Driven and passionate, she started out with an old Hi8 before deciding to take things seriously, killing two birds with one stone by studying film and sport. She made the wise choice of going to Melbourne, where she could nurture her love for the sea and the mountains. She wrote her thesis on the influence of the media on extreme sports’ culture, which made her decision to return to the Alps to study it close up an entirely logical one.
And so to Verbier
With degree in hand, Melody moved into the world of TV films and headed to Verbier for a shoot with a former Olympic champion. She fell in love with the Swiss resort straightaway and began producing ski movies for Eurosport, becoming, it was said, the first woman to hold such a position. As the years passed, however, so gradually photography took over.
The projects are coming thick and fast now. Only this summer she travelled to Greenland (more sea and mountains and another case of love at first sight) in the company of the adventurer and director Jimmy Chin and celebrated extreme skier Scot Schmidt, whom she long admired before their paths crossed. This winter sees her in the Andes and Amazon for a photography expedition, where she will pursue yet another passion as she has her say on and investigates environmental issues. Photography and the environment will also provide the main focus of her upcoming trips to the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the gorilla reserves of Rwanda. In between times she has the chance to breathe the mountain air in Verbier, where she has been living for years. It’s a place she describes as “near perfect”. “It looks out on to the mountains, there’s lots of interesting people, and I always love coming back here,” she says. And though time is at a premium, you’ll sometimes find her out on the slopes, doing her thing in the Bruson forests, on Mont Gelé and Backside Mont-Fort.