The first day I used a camera is ingrained in my memory. I was eight years old and I was hiking in Yosemite National Park in California. My aunt had let me use her camera. I brought the viewfinder up to my eye and pressed down on the shutter. That tiny click revealed to me a secret world. From that day on, I was hooked.
Fast forward 14 years, and here I am happily working my first job out of college at the Rivard Report. The transition from student to adulthood has come with a lot of learning experiences for me, especially in the last two years, as I hopped from city to city following different internships which ultimately lead me here in San Antonio, Texas.
This is a photo journal of my story over the past two years.
PORTLAND, OREGON: June 2013
After my sophomore year at the University of Oregon, School of Journalism, I interned at Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. My first assignment sent me to a local fountain in downtown Portland, and required me to produce a video about the “Sounds of Summer.” There was so much commotion going on that at first I was overwhelmed. I remembered one of my professors telling me that when I get to a scene, I should close my eyes and just listen. Then I should photograph the emotions of what I heard. I can still hear the voices of children, laughing and screaming as they ran through the water, every time I look at this photograph. Sometimes when I need to remind myself that my passion comes from capturing beauty in everyday moments, I look back at this photo of two boys howling with laughter.
SAGRES, PORTUGAL: October 2013
Just four days after my internship ended in Portland, I jumped on a plane and flew to Seville, Spain for a study abroad program. I was in a new city with new people, and this time a new language as well. I had dreamt of studying abroad in Spain since middle school, but honestly, the experience stretched me more than I could have ever expected. Because everything was so new, it all felt like jumping into the unknown, much like the above photo taken during a side trip to Sagres, Portugal. Part of the beauty of being a photojournalist is that a single picture can capture more than a moment in time– it can also give you purpose. Sometime when I am feeling disconnected or unsure of myself, I can put a camera up to my eye and it makes those jumps into the unknown a bit more familiar.
EUGENE, OREGON: March 2014
When I returned from studying abroad for five months, I wanted the world to know that I had changed; what I didn’t factor in was how my world back home had also changed. This photo reminds me of perspective and changing seasons. Things aren’t always the way we see and remember them in our minds.
NETARTS BAY, OREGON: May 2014
It’s an incredible feeling when everything you are passionate about comes together in one story. I have a passion for environmental journalism that humanizes the narrative of scientific research and shows its impact from an economic standpoint. This story, of an oyster farmer and seed distributer in Oregon, did just that. Through his narrative, I was able to tell the story how rising CO2 levels in the ocean are impacting the oyster farm industry. His story inspired me to connect with scientists and find ways of representing their research findings visually to get it to a larger audience.
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA: June 2014
I am from Long Beach, and one of the best things about going home is the community that surrounds my family. This is a photo of my childhood friend surfing. It’s become a tradition of ours every time I come home to wake up early and head to the beach for surfing and photos. It’s a nice outlet for me because it reminds me that photography is more than my degree or job. Making pictures is my passion. I think it’s important to take the time to photograph just for myself. Photographing just to photograph gets me out of my head and refreshes the creative side of me that can sometimes get worn down from photographing for work.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: August 2014
In the summer of 2014, I took an internship at The San Francisco Chronicle as part of an innovative team working to expand the newspapers’ media presence with video shorts. Because a whole video team was still a developing concept for The Chronicle, the hours were long and the learning curve was incredibly steep. It was my first time working at a major daily newspaper and the constant looming deadlines meant I really needed to learn how to film and craft a story on a fast timeline. It also meant learning from incredible mentors who taught me how to think outside the box, ask the right questions, and to find my own eye.
EUGENE, OREGON: November 2014
The above image of a tired steeplechase runner conveys a larger story to me. After a summer of filming and editing countless daily videos and living in yet another new city, I was exhausted by the time I started my senior year of college. The fact that I would be graduating in seven months also contributed to a feeling of anxiety about the future. I felt like I didn’t have enough work in my portfolio or career experience. I needed to see more, do more, be better. And I wanted it now. I think that’s a trap I still catch myself in sometimes. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others in this field and when I start down that track I’m learning it’s vital to remind myself of where I am on my own journey and to affirm my own strengths. It comes down to finding happiness in my own story.
WHITE SALMON, WASHINGTON: February 2015
Because I was so anxious about finding a job, I jumped at an internship in Seattle the second quarter of my senior year of college. My hope was that this internship would turn into a full time job; but instead it resulted in a four-month Seattle sojourn and more life learning. Sometimes the right moment just needs time and patience to occur. I found it hard to continually move from city to city for new internships. Each new location required time to make new friends and to feel like home. I find this applicable in life and in photography. Even fast-paced action photography takes a patient eye to recognize the right moment. I often have to remind myself that sometimes it’s worth it to first find my composition and then wait for the perfect moment to happen within the frame.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: May 2015
May brought many changes. It brought yet another internship in Phoenix, Arizona for News21, and my graduation. Needless to say, it was a hectic time in my life, but it was also a good reminder of how lucky I am as a photographer to have a found a job where I can make a career out of traveling and documenting people’s lives. The above video is a story about Vashon Island, Washington about an off-the-grid marijuana farmer who joins the recreational market. Yes, that’s a Volkswagen filled with pot.
Long Beach, CALIFORNIA: September 2015
Every time I sit down to film a video interview, I tell them I’m going to ask “Who are you?” three separate times. The first time their answer usually remains on the surface with something like my name is and my job is, but by the third time the answer is pure magic. I asked myself this when I returned home from Phoenix with no job prospects or a plan and I felt kind of lost. For the first time in 16 years I could no longer say “I am a student.” For the first time ever, I didn’t return to school this September. With two parents who work in education, this change in routine was very evident.
Long Beach is where I grew up and went to school, so at first it felt like moving back in with my parents was digressing back to high school days, but as time passed I remembered why I love Long Beach so much. Going out to take pictures in my community reminded me to appreciate the amazing place in which I live.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: January 2016
So here I am now at my first official job as a photographer/videographer at The Rivard Report. What a journey it has been. I love this quote from Steve Jobs, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards.” I would have never predicted that I would end up in Texas, but I know this is where I should be. I am working and living with a community of people who appreciate quality work and give me the creative freedom to find my voice. It has so been worth the waiting and lists of internships because it all brought me here–where I am surround by people who care. It’s only been a few weeks on the job, but I’m excited to see where this new part of my story takes me.