January-Photos of the Month

I did a lot of firsts this month. I left a full-time job for an internship. I moved to a city I only heard about in the news. I moved to a community that wasn’t dominated by white people. And so far I’m loving it, and learning more than I ever have. 

I’m really happy I made this change. It has no doubt extended the longevity of my life as a photojournalist. I needed the perspective and the challenge. I hope that gives someone encouragement if they ever feel they need something more. I couldn’t have done it without the solid base of training I received at the Billings Gazette, my former place of work. 

So here I am now in Flint, Michigan. Home of a water crisis that is ongoing, pot-hole infested roads, abandoned houses and an incredible sense of community made up of the most resilient people I’ve ever met. Some can’t leave and many choose to stay. It’s a mix of so many things. I was so excited to be thrown into the middle of it when I arrived. 

But then they sent me to a job fair on my first day. I winced when they told me. Job fair? In the middle of the day? Really? Fine. In my experience job fairs have always been small, maybe 100 people or less who were able to squeeze it in before class or work. And so off I went. Job fair… grumble.

As I drove to the job fair’s location I noticed traffic was heavy, I was in a long line of cars which inched its way to Mott Community College. Cars were parked along residential streets. Law enforcement was the only thing preventing angry motorists from running reds and hitting each other. Is this the same thing? 

When I entered the college I couldn’t believe what I saw. The line of people waiting for an interview was in the thousands. They were wrapped around the interior of the building, up stairwells and clogging hallways. And there were only 400 jobs available with the company, Lear Corporation. I was shocked. People in Flint need jobs, badly. That assignment was a great experience and introduction to members of the community. Never assume you know how an event is going to be, even a job fair. Over 1,500 people showed up and due to the influx of people, many were turned away. 

Ever since that assignment it has been non-stop in the best way. I’m so thankful to have met some incredible colleagues as well as my editor and mentor, Jake May. Also my coworker and roommate Zahra Ahmad. It has been a blessing to work and live with an equally driven and talented women as she is. We have so many ideas that we need two more of us, maybe three. I’m so looking forward to seeing the work we do together. 

With that being said, here are a few of my favorites from this month. 

Always say yes to something that will make you better. Even if it goes against the norm.


December 2017 - Photos of the Month

Looking back at 2017, December was the month that brought the most change. 

The best change by far was my beautiful niece Hattie Jo who came into our world on December 23rd. I got to spend more than a week with my big brother William and his wife Amanda while we waited for the arrival of our precious new addition to the family. It was such an incredible experience to watch my brother become a father. 

Those days I will never forget and I’m so happy I had that time with them. 

So much happened before and after that as well. I finally saw a story publish that I had been working on for months. December was also the last full month I worked at the Billings Gazette. I overcame a lot of emotional obstacles along the way. 

In the new year I will begin my new job at the Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan. I cannot wait to hit the ground running in the community and tell stories about the people who live there. 

For now, here are a few favorites from last month. 

 

See you in Flint next year!


November 2017 - Photos of the Month

No nonsense November meant a lot of football and a lot of being at the right place at the right time. I haven’t shot sports for very long, maybe a year and a half or so. It’s crazy how hard my still heart pounds when the clock is dwindling down to the final moments in a big state game. My mind runs wild thinking “where should I be?” or “should I be standing or on my knees?” and whatever I decide, I usually switch at the last minute only to love the shot or hate it. So this month brought a lot of that. 

It also brought a lot of unexpected things. Like, a kid walking down the street in a scary clown costume with a toy hammer, or was it? Regardless you don’t see that everyday and my journalistic curiosity burned so badly I had to pull over and talk to the little scary clown boy. His answer to my asking why he chose such an outfit was simply because he “just felt like wearing it.” Oh to be a kid again. I would have the cops called on me if I did that in my neighborhood. 

This month I also pushed myself to go outside my comfort zone and do some photo work I don’t usually do. I got the honor to photograph one of my dear friend’s engagement sessions. I never thought I would start doing photography like this, coming from a pretty strict photojournalism background. It was a nice change that opened up more doors to shoot more engagement photos and a couple professional head shots here and there. 

It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. 

My next blog will be all about that so stay tuned. 

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