WV student’s first photo wins national award

Photo submitted to The Journal by Faythe Bailey Faythe Bailey’s nationally winning photograph entitled, “The Gold Life.”
Photo submitted to The Journal by Faythe Bailey
Faythe Bailey’s nationally winning photograph entitled, “The Gold Life.”

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Faythe Bailey, an eighth-grader at Martinsburg South Middle School, never thought that a simple photograph she had taken of a friend would turn into what it did.

Bailey placed first in the Boys & Girls Club national photography contest in the 10-12 age group this past summer. Bailey was one of 16 national winners.

It all started when Bailey got involved with the Boys & Girls Club in Martinsburg.

“I was at the Boys & Girls Club during the summer and Mr. Murphy was looking for people to join photography and I thought it would be cool, so I decided to check it out,” Bailey said,

Taught by Pat Murphy, students have the chance to learn the basics of photography during classes. They learn everything from photography styles, lighting and context, among other things.

Bailey used of one of her friends as the subject for her photo and took a side portrait of her. She said she was inspired by the gold hoop earrings her friend was wearing. She titled it “The Gold Life.”

“It was totally her idea,” Murphy said.

“She just chose one of her girlfriends and they started shooting,” he added.

Murphy said Bailey and her classmates really took to the portrait assignment.

“The girls in class were like ducks in the water once they got their hands on the cameras,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he thinks the photo won because of its sharpness.

“The lighting was perfect, it’s sharpness, it was just a phenomenal portrait,” Murphy said.

“During my classes I teach them to try and capture the soul of their subject,” he added.

Bailey and her fellow Boys & Girls Club members’ photos were all entered in the local contest at the 2014 Berkeley County Youth Fair.

Bailey’s photo placed first overall at the fair, which then advanced it to regionals, where ultimately, four people were chosen to advance to nationals.

Bailey competed against Boys & Girls Club members from various locations around the United States. Bailey was chosen as one of the national winners.

Bailey said that the photo was the first she had ever taken.

“I didn’t think I was going to win. It was my first time, this was my first photo,” Bailey said.

Bailey said when she found out she placed first in nationals she was shocked.

“I didn’t know what to say, I was speechless,” she said.

Bailey chose the photo to be in black and white, so she actually had to develop the photograph.

“You take it to a black room and use the chemicals to develop it. It takes awhile,” Bailey said.

Murphy said Bailey is a very determined and motivated. He said the first time that Bailey developed her photo it was accidently ruined by a classmate.

“She was upset, but she didn’t get discouraged. She knew it was going to be hard to start over from scratch but she did it,” Murphy said.

Bailey said she loves photography because she can be creative and view things differently.

“You can go to places and take photos and make them into more than they actually are,” Bailey said. “It’s like, you look at it in a different prospective.”

Murphy,who has been a photography teacher for over 40 years, says he really loves volunteering.

“I enjoy seeing the creativity and the enthusiasm, I am always looking for those students who have that ability, and Faythe certainly developed it,” Murphy said.

-Staff writer Katiann Marshall can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 182, or at

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