This year was filled with a diverse array of experiences and changes that shaped my direction and vision as a photographer.
While interning in Mexico I focused a lot of time on video. This was a great learning experience and opportunity to explore a part of journalism beyond photography and writing. After working with such a talented team at AP Television I considered focusing my career on video.
In September, I spent the month with family in Colombia and worked on a personal project about a mennonite family making a new life for themselves in the coffee region of Colombia. Taking this time off of internships gave me clarity on where I wanted to go with my career, reminded me that telling stories through stills is what I do best and what I care for the most. This time steered me back onto the path of photojournalism.
Meeting and listening to so many different types of photographers at the Eddie Adams workshop in October inspired me to continue community journalism but also provoked new thoughts on what is possible for the future of my photography career. The work and words of Victoria Will showed me that you don’t have to stick with one type of photography your whole career and talking with Kirsten Luce, a photographer I had admired for a long time, made me realize how valuable a staff position can be for a photojournalist.
All of these experiences led me to take a full time position in October at the Yakima Herald-Republic in Yakima, Washington. I could not have asked for a better team to work with or a more unique area to work in. The level and commitment to photojournalism at the paper encourages me to push myself and find a better shot each day.
Working as a full time staffer has lead me to reflect on my years as an intern and given me a new perspective on that time. One thing I realize is that I wish I would have maintained a better balance between work and life. At times I was pushing myself so hard and was so caught up in internships that I didn’t allow myself to be present in important life moments.
Yes it is absolutely crucial to push yourself, to stay on top of deadlines, and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way but also do all this while maintaining a balance of work and life. Don’t forget the things or people that matter to you outside of photojournalism. These things are also a part of what makes us who we are and in the end matter the most. Once you slow down or finish your internship path those things come into the limelight again. My advice to young pjs out there is just to remember the things that are important to you beyond photojournalism and enjoy the ride!
2015 was a blast —- Finished school, traveled to Latin America, made new friends, new skills, and got a full time job! Can’t wait to see what is next for 2016! Saludos!