I can hardly believe that after nearly 14 years, I am leaving the job that I worked so hard to get. It is amazing how life works out at times.
In 1998, I applied for a part time position with the Savannah Morning News. I thought it was certain that I was going to be hired, but it didn’t work out at that time, so I returned to SCAD for my MFA in Photography.
Then, in October 1999, I was one of the 100 lucky photographers accepted into the Eddie Adams Workshop, an intense weeklong photojournalism workshop in New York. I learned a lot, even though I felt out of place with my simple Canon A1 manual focus/manual exposure camera among all of the photojournalism majors with their new and fancy autofocus gear. Toward the end of the week, one of my team leaders told me that I needed to make a choice and decide if I wanted to be a photojournalist or an artist. He said he just wasn’t sure I had what it took to be a photojournalist. I was dejected, but motivated.
When I returned to Savannah, I got my first autofocus camera and began to work even harder. In April of 2000, I had my internship at the Savannah Morning News and was determined to prove myself. By the end of my short 10 weeks, they hired me to temporarily fill a position while they tried to sort out the hiring of someone else.
On July 2, 2000, I was asked to stay on as staff photographer. I faced a lot of challenges over the years learning how to become a photojournalist. As the primary sports photographer for 8 years, my abilities definitely improved. I became adept at working in all kinds of lighting conditions, and transmitting photos from strange places all while under extreme deadlines. Through it all, the Photo Chief was patient and stuck with me.
Over the past few years, I feel I have really come into my own as a photographer. I have faced a lot of challenges, learned new skills, and worked hard to constantly improve. I have managed to win a few awards along the way, but most importantly I have produced work that I am proud of.
While I am leaving the newspaper, I will remain in Savannah working as a photographer, and I hope to continue to do assignments for the Savannah Morning News from time to time. I really appreciate all of the support I have received over the years from fellow staff, and all of the amazing people that allowed me into their lives just for a brief moment. The past 14 years have truly made me the photographer and the person I am today, and for that I am grateful!