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When I was 20, I spent a summer walking through the five boroughs of New York City photographing people who fascinated me. I realized then that I loved documenting candid moments. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I considered studying photography as a profession.
I studied documentary photography and photojournalism in 2014. One incredible teacher introduced me to the world of news photography. She was able to convey an impeccable understanding of what it’s like to work for a news media outlet and how to create successful documentary stories.
I wanted to become a photojournalist because for me the psychology and emotion of the human condition is the most important story to tell. Photography is the most powerful way to do so.
My first assignment for Reuters was to look for something related to vaping and the e-cigarette world. I discovered a cloud competition where vapor cigarette enthusiasts from all around the country gathered to see who could blow the largest and longest vapor cloud.
Shooting portraits of young men who had been physically abused while serving time at the adolescent unit of Rikers Island was the assignment that left the biggest mark on me.
What excites me most are stories and assignments that expose unreported problems.
Photojournalism matters because it provides a window into the lives of others. It helps people think beyond the bubble of their own lives and may inspire us to help people we cannot immediately reach.
The biggest lesson I have learned is not to narrow my focus so much that I miss out on opportunities.
The photographers I most respect are those who have taken tremendous risks to get to where they are while also acting as mentors to a younger generation.