I wasn’t always a photojournalist.
My career started in reporting and I thought it was my true love. While I still have strong feelings about writing and reporting, much like the case of my first real girlfriend, we aren’t exactly compatible.
It only took one day to change my heart.
I was a second semester reporter at my community college newspaper, The Foghorn. I hadn’t had a story in a few days and was hanging around the office looking for things to do.
After a short wait, my advisor came in and handed me a Canon 60D with a standard kit lens.
“Get over to Peewee’s Pet Adoption,” he said.
Apparently, the owner agreed to have photos taken inside the no-kill animal shelter to pair with a three part series about a stray animal problem in Corpus Christi.
My advisor gave me a quick 20-minute tutorial about the camera and settings. I knew as much about ISO, aperture and shutter speed as I did about kissing my first time.
The turning point
Still unsure of what I was doing, I took off for the shelter and was given free reign to go and explore. When I entered the gates, I noticed an old white dog started following me around.
I spent almost all day going from cage to cage snapping my mediocre shots. As I was preparing to leave, I turned to see the white dog still behind me and a tennis ball at his feet.
I hadn’t noticed his eyes, or how rough he looked. I spent all day looking for an image to tell the story, but it was right behind me the whole time.
This was the one image that could show these animals’ condition, but also capture the fact that they were once pets and had been abandoned.
This dog followed me around hoping I would play fetch with him.
It was then and there that I fell in love with photojournalism. There is something about capturing the moment to tell a story that both excites and scares me.
As a reporter I could always go back and get the quotes and information I needed, but as a photojournalist, I’ve got one shot to get what I needed to tell the story. You can’t ethically remake a moment.
Since that day, I have practiced, read books and practiced even more to hone my skills in photojournalism and general photography. I am nowhere near perfect, but I have found my passion and I couldn’t be more in love.
Feel free to share a story about you falling in love with something, someone or yourself in the comments below.