Entertainment, social and environmental issues.
I was 14 the first time I picked up a camera. I was in a photojournalism class at my high school in Seattle. I re-member the classroom smelled like developer and there was a dusty bookshelf of gorgeous photo books. I loved the way the viewfinder narrowed the world into one tiny square.
Photojournalism is a window that helps people understand others better. I became a photographer to document environmental and social issues in a way that helps educate people about the world around them. The best sto-ries expand empathy and at times policy.
My first assignment out of college was a feature about a flea market. A local paper was looking for free-lance photographers. The editor was an alumni of my university. I prepared an edit of work and reached out. I spent hours waiting for the light to change, testing different angles and scales. I learned how to better approach people I was photographing.
Covering the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Brown, Freddy Gray, and Eric Garner left the biggest mark on me. I moved from one grieving community to another and observed many parallel emotions: anger, sadness, despair, and deep mistrust of the police and justice system. I realized I am capable of remaining calm in ex-treme situations and doing my job under pressure.
I love assignments that allow time to capture a story more deeply and creatively. I am curious about the human condition and the world around me.
Photojournalism has the capacity to illuminate our collective humanity and change history. Often, photographs convey something that would be impossible to express with words. When I think of iconic images that have shifted public opinion, such as Dorothea Lange’s portrait of a migrant mother, or Eddie Adams’ Saigon execu-tion I am reminded of the incredible responsibility that comes with this profession.
I don’t think much about the audience when I’m working. I focus on documenting what is in front of me to visually convey the story of what is happening.
I respect many photographers. Victoria Will takes brilliantly inventive images without the ego. Her work always evolves and reminds me that taking risks is an integral part of growth. Dan Winters’ way of seeing is completely unique. He makes an effort to be a mentor and give back to the community. John White is another legend.