This year was filled with a diverse array of experiences and changes that shaped my direction and vision as a photographer.

Artist Ridge, Mt. Baker, Wa.
Mt. Baker, Wa.

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.

Armando Garcia, Armando Aguilar
Ciudad de Mexico, MX.
Carlos Castaneda plucks his violin as he waits for customers at Tenampa Salon in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. Traditional mariachi groups usually consist of at least two violinists. Castaneda plays mariachi music at Tenampa Salon with his brother, Oscar Castaneda, and said mariachi music is a family tradition. This year, the Tenampa Salon is celebrating its 90th anniversary.  (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
Tenampa Salon- home of the mariachis, MX.
Largest mural project in Central America- Hidalgo
at the Driver's Volks event in Mexico City, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Event organizers claimed that over 150 volkswagen beetles were on display. (AP photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
Volkswagen Mania, Ciudad de Mexico, MX.

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.

At the Plett coffee ranch near Pereira, Colombia.
POY2015010 POY2015011

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.

Gerardo Cortina picks the last harvest of apples at the Profarms orchard near Granger, Wash. Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. This year's apple season was unusually early and the last of the apples are being harvested now. (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic) Victoria Castro, dressed as Queen Amidala, poses for a portrait before the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Grand Cinemas in Sunnyside, Wash., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. Castro said, "I dressed up because I am a huge fan and its just part of the American culture. There is a whole world of Star Wars fans out there." (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic) Elk gather near the Oak Creek Wildlife Area in Naches, Wash., Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic) standalone-YH-122715-05 Gil Calac, of the Yakima Warriors Association, poses for a photo at Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima, Wash., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Calac is a Bronze Star recipient and served in the Vietnam war for 2 years. (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic) I am always looking for something different. When I have shot Veterans Day events in the past I have not seen many minority or non-white Veterans. I was surprised and pleased to see the Yakima Warriors Associated present at this event. This photos speaks to the diversity of the Yakima Valley. I found it intriguing that although Calac is a Yakima Native American and most of his ancestors land was once stolen from the white settlers, he was still proud to be a U.S. war veteran. I tried to capture that pride and the diversity of the Yakima Valley in this portrait. Lupe Ramales laughs after she was bombarded by candy seekers during a posada celebration at Saint Joseph Church in Sunnyside, Wash., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. The posada is a Latin American celebration involving a procession and the breaking of a piñata. The tradition originates from Spain, but is widely celebrated in Mexico and portions of the United States. The Saint Joseph Church will hold a posada every night up until Christmas. (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic) Chris Williams, center, applies glue after putting a new horseshoe on his horse, Filly, at his property in Naches, Wash., Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. Williams has been riding horses his whole life and mainly uses the animals for pack trips and hunting with family. (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic) Felix Amescua prunes pear trees at the Brandt orchard in Wapato, Wash., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. Amescua said, "I am grateful for the snow. Snow is very important for us and for the trees. If we don't give them water, the trees can get sick. " (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic)

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!








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