Student Photographer of the Year finds courage in photojournalism
PARKER – Looking at her photos, you may never guess that Chaparral High School senior Maddie Malhotra is a bit shy. Her bold photos of athletics have a way of speaking, whether she is capturing a collision during a rugby match or the emotions on the football sideline.
“I’m kind of a timid person, but when I am behind the camera, it lets me break down walls and lets me see things that I would have never before,” Malhotra said.
She says that she is attracted by the stories of the people she photographs.
“I always feel compelled to take pictures to tell someone’s story,” Malhotra said. “That is what drives me, to learn something new about them. When you are behind the camera, you have this perspective that not a lot of people get to see.”
She has worked very hard to master her camera and practice her craft. That preparation has paid off in sports photography, where she has excelled.
“She is catching that perfect exposure at a split second notice, whether it is a dunk or a kill on a volleyball court. That tells me that she is going someplace,” said local professional photographer Kevin Keyser.
In eighth grade Malhotra was encouraged to join yearbook and quickly fell in love with photojournalism.
“Being involved in yearbook in eighth grade, I could see how student journalists work together and the place I could have in my school community through yearbook.”
Today as the editor of Chaparral’s yearbook she has the opportunity to integrate the imagery she loves into every page.
“I am trying to design the entire theme of the yearbook experience around great photos,” Malhotra said. “[Readers] want to open a page and look at something that grabs their attention, that makes an impact, that makes them feel something.”
Malhotra’s work has certainly grabbed the attention of judges at both state and national competitions this year.
In May, the Colorado High School Press Association named her the Photographer of the Year and a couple weeks ago she won two National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) photography awards in the Sports Action and Sports Reaction categories.
2014 NSPA Photo Award: Sports Action
2014 NSPA Photo Award: Sports Reaction
This is not the first time she’s won a national award. NSPA also honored her photography when she was in middle school.
2011 NSPA Picture of the Year: Junior High/Middle School Division
Next year, she hopes to study photojournalism at Boston University, University of Missouri at Columbia or Northwestern University.
Photo Courtesy: Keyser Images