Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: Olivia De Melo


Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: Olivia De Melo

January 18, 2023

Like most Warwick Valley High School seniors, Olivia De Melo will be the subject of photographs in the yearbook.  Unlike most seniors, however, Olivia will have photos she shot featured throughout the publication.

“Olivia is a talented photographer who is always working to improve her craft,” WVHS art teacher and yearbook advisor Therese McLoughlin said.  “She is reliable, trustworthy and my go to person to get amazing photos for the yearbook.  Olivia really stepped up this year.”

During Homecoming Week, for example, Olivia photographed float building (and helped out with the senior float), the pep rally, the homecoming parade and was on the sidelines capturing images during the football game.

“Yearbook has been a lot this year,” said Olivia, who has recently been taking club photos and senior superlative portraits. “I’m not used to having so many deadlines, but it’s a good push for me to stay on my game and keep producing no matter what.”

Olivia got started in photography when she took a course at Greenwood Lake Middle School. At WVHS, she has taken Digital Photography I and II and also completed an independent study class on black and white film photography.

“I really love doing black and white photography,” Olivia said.  “I like the process. It’s very time consuming and very methodical. But it’s also very relaxing for me.”

Last year, Olivia chose the work of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide to be the subject of her Biliteracy Seal presentation. Iturbide is a documentary photographer who works mostly in black and white.

Olivia’s Spanish teacher Mrs. Meghan Murphy suggested selecting a project that would be fun to do, so Olivia picked photography.

“I was looking up different Latin American photographers, and she (Iturbide) just really stood out to me,” Olivia said.  “She loves capturing the human experience and she tackles grief and political justice as well. The project was a paper, a video and a speech. I also recreated some of her pictures with my film camera.”

Olivia plans to continue studying photography in college and is currently working on her portfolio. She is going to apply to Fashion Institute of Technology, the School of Visual Arts, Parsons, CalArts and the California College of the Arts.

“I just started out wanting to capture moments of people I care about and also the beautiful things that I got to see,” Olivia said. “Now it’s that plus I want to express certain messages or stories that I have like about mental health and saving the environment.”

In addition to her yearbook photography, Olivia is president of the WVHS Treble Choir and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is also creating a chair featuring some of her black and white photos for the chair auction.

Warwick Valley High School senior Olivia De Melo with some of her photographs in the darkroom on Jan. 13, 2023.

View more of Olivia’s images below:



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