Today marks my first full year as a professional photojournalist. I was hired a few weeks before I graduated from college last May at the State Journal in Frankfort, Kentucky. I graduated on a Saturday, moved down on a Sunday, and started work Monday.
I’ve kept 11,576 photos in this past year. I’ve probably shot at least four times that.
I’ve been able to shoot a wide variety of great events. Important political figures, such as the governor,
and Senators Rand Paul
and news events.
I’ve covered dozens of (warning – blood) accidents
Then there’s the 173 sporting events, ranging from high school standouts,
the NCAA Tournament including champion Louisville,
and this past weekend, the Kentucky Derby.
I’ve met a lot of great people and made some awesome friends in my co-workers. I’ve been able to go places and see things most people don’t, such as the roof of the Capitol(that’s me up there).
Hell, I’ve even seen a mailman get attacked by a dog.
I won five Kentucky News Photographers Association awards
(two were a group award with my co-worker photographer). Not bad for a kid in his first year who never took a photography or photojournalism class in his life.
It’s not easy though. It’s an tiring job. The hours are long, the exhaustion can drain you, and sometimes you have to sacrifice your body to cover a story. I’ve twice hopped a barbed wire fence and ran two miles down an interstate to cover wrecks, and both times gotten poison ivy as a result. You never know when a wreck, fire, or natural disaster will hit, so you’re on call every minute of every day. And then there are some things you see that most people don’t want to see.
It doesn’t pay much, but most people I meet are friendly and glad I’m there. I’ve received more good feedback than bad, so it’s reassuring that I’ve chosen the right career path.
The biggest thing I can take away from this past year is the progress I’ve made. I’ve made more progress in this year than the three years I shot in college combined.
In the end, despite the exhaustion and stress, I can’t think of a better place to be right now. Every day is different, and you never know what’s going to pop up. The job has taken me many more places than I would have originally thought, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.
Is this for everyone? No. But it’s exactly for me.