By: Mary Ringwald

On a snowy January day, senior softball player Marlee Tevis looked out her window in awe and saw an opportunity.

She called one of her teammates, senior Lillie Nitzken, and asked her to meet outside. She slipped on a jacket, placed her camera straps around her neck and walked into a winter wonderland perfect for portraits.

Tevis, a biochemistry major, waltzed into the world of photography by accident only four years ago. Her mom gave her a cheap camera for Christmas, and she started taking photos of landscapes.

Two years later, she upgraded to a Canon Rebel T6I camera, and purchased an Adobe editing software called Lightroom. She has not stopped capturing life’s little moments since that day.   

Between her studies and softball practices, she has to find time for her photography hobby. She said it’s all about balance.

“When I am in the classroom, I’m in the classroom, and when I’m there, I’m all there,” Tevis said. “Then when I go to practice, I’m all there. Being able to separate the two when I need to is helpful.”

Tevis is quite familiar with the stressors of both softball and school. She has been in a team photo every year since she was 5 years old and said she cannot believe it is coming to a close in just a few months.

She said she is looking forward to a fun final season because the team is coming together at the right time.

“The smaller victories have just added up to this ‘I made it moment,” Tevis said. “You work up to it and you try to build relationships with everybody, and when you finally do, it all clicks and it happens to be your senior year, its a great feeling.”

Tevis is known not just for taking photos of teammates, but she is also a great team leader, and it is one aspect of her personality that Nitzken admires about her.

Nitzken said she is a very hardworking person who is a great role model for the underclassmen on the team.

“She has determination with everything she does in life, and she is great at giving constructive criticism to other players in order to make them better,” Nitzken said. 

Roommate and close friend Kaitlin Murray said she has also always noticed how passionate she is about taking snapshots along with her love for biology and softball.

“I’ve never seen her go halfway,” Murray said “It could be very easy for her to since she balances photography, softball, family, biochemistry and her social life. She’s my motivated and driven friend, but also doubles as a very fun friend when you need a night to unwind.”

Senior teammate Katie Stamper has known Tevis since their middle school softball days in Scott County, Kentucky. She said Tevis has always been doing and trying new things.

“She has made photography more than just a habit,” Stamper said. “It is a way of life for her, and through that, she has transformed herself into the person she is by going out on a whim and being spontaneous. I always try and push myself to get out of my comfort zone and do because I see how much she has gained from living a ‘yes’ life.”

Tevis uses her photography as an out from the stresses of every day life. She said many people have asked her if she would make a career out of it.

“I don’t try to force it because it’s my out,” Tevis said. “I want it to be a side hobby that I enjoy. That’s probably why it is so freeing for me to get out there and shoot photos.”

Tevis will attend graduate school at Lincoln Memorial University to become a physician assistant after graduating from Bellarmine in May. As she looks forward to this new phase in her life, she said it’s important to have a hobby to give yourself a break every once in awhile.

“It is 100 percent necessary for survival,” Tevis said. “Even if it is just 20 minutes out of your day, I think you need an ‘out’ of some sort. For me, going to church and taking photos are my top two to get me away from it all.”

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Louisville, Kentucky. Marlee Tevis had a long week of softball practice and anatomy labs, but today is her day to put all that aside and do what she loves. After a humbling sermon at her church, she snatches up her camera and walks out her front door to capture all the personalities and nature that await her. 

About The Author

Related Posts