It is always amazing how much can be stuffed into one month of journalism. Between state basketball, the end of hockey, the start of baseball and Soccer, aka the Beautiful Game, aka the best sport, and a visit to Leadville for Ski Joring I managed to get my fill of sports. I also started to get into the swing of an early starting fire season that managed to dominate the Gazette’s front pages, fueled by dry winds, dry grasses, dry everything in this part of the country.
As always there were cute kids to shoot, and as always I found the people who truly make our world turn: the cooks.
February marked the start of my second internship at the Colorado Springs Gazette. After a break in Idaho during late December and January I was more than ready to get back to work, and I think it showed in the energy that I brought to my assignments.
I also jumped right back into the deep end with one of the most involved stories of my career so far: the death of El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy Micah Flick. Flick died in a stolen-car investigation that turned into a shootout right as I was finishing up my last assignment for the day.
Hours later I had been on scene, then at the procession for his body. Days later I was the pool photographer at his New Life Church memorial service, which involved no small amount of pressure to get it right. Which I did, thankfully.
After that I had more fun assignments like a mountaintop wedding and state wrestling championships to look forward to. I enjoyed the usual Colorado Springs diversity of sports, food, the great outdoors and the ever-exciting trips onto Fort Carson. Now the trick will be maintaining that fresh energy, throughout the rest of the internship and into whatever comes next.
2017 has been quite a year, starting off in Costa Rica, graduating from Mizzou, road tripping across the southwest with Isabella and showing her my side of California, trying to find myself in Reno, moving to Colorado Springs to work for the wonderful staff at The Gazette and then finishing everything off with a move to Idaho Falls to be with Isabella as she starts her first job at the Post Register.
It was a very introspective year as I tried to navigate the post-college world, tried to find my place both in the photojournalism world as both an employee (still working on that part) and as a photographer with something to say (still working on this part too).
I had opportunities to do slower, simmering projects like living with the wonderful monks at Assumption Abbey outside of Ava, Missouri and following Hunter and Wyatt through their training with the Boone County Fire Protection District.
I also boiled on through faster assignments like everything I did at Fort Carson. I got to live the fast photojournalist life at the Gazette, covering breaking news and features, NFL games and prep sport portraits, and touching on national events like the shooting in Las Vegas.
I made a lot of friends, and met a lot of incredible and amazing photographers (Hey there everyone at TID). I hope 2018 brings me as much inspiration as 2017, and maybe a bit of clarity to go with it.
Fort Carson was a fun place to spend time while in Colorado Springs. The small little world perched on the south end of the city was so strange that I was happy to make even the earliest of Gate Calls just to get in and take pictures.
Religion ended up being a focal point for the end of my time in Columbia. I may not be religious but the idea of belief and dedication is fascinating and irresistible. Living at the Assumption Abbey for the five days I was able to spend with the monks was one of the most transcendent experiences I have had in photography.
Few assignments are harder for me than small press conferences, and this extra-small town conference about a recently killed principal was especially difficult. When I found out that a test shot I had taken waiting for the district superintendent was actually one of the Police Chaplains on hand to help counsel students I couldn’t believe my luck.
I also took the time to try out some other techniques and practice my photoshop. Stitching this vertical panorama was an interesting endeavor and one day I will find a way to print it out in all its weirdly elongated glory.
When in Arkansas, do as the Arkansans do. In this case it means going out fishing with my girlfriend on her family’s property in the Ozarks. I was a newbie fisherman and managed to tangle most of the lines, but she was patient and we still made off with a decent catch to cook up.
Unfortunately, about halfway through the fishing, the lens on my camera got greased up with something (maybe fish slime?) and took on an 80s glamour glow. When I got back I made sure to clean it off real nice, but in the meantime a lot of the photos came out a little hazy.
Current Inspiration: Daro Sulakauri’s photo story on a Georgian mining town in the Caucasus Mountains. The weighty feeling of toil and the harsh conditions juxtaposes against the vibrant life of the children playing and being young, all wrapped up in an environment in decay as the mines became less profitable. The project is incredible and moving and very humanizing to the human aspect of what a damaged industry looks like.
The Missouri Legislature was pulled back into its second Special Legislative Session by Gov. Eric Greitens to grapple with issues related to abortion. This was partly because of a recent court case that ruled against the state, and partly because of a St. Louis City ordinance that prevented discrimination on the basis of a woman’s reproductive choices.
After the call went out to legislators a call, an email really, came to me asking if I would be available to head down to Jefferson City to cover the session. I was just waking up when the email came in, fired off a quick response in the affirmative and hopped in the shower.
As I woke up more, I realized that I had just agreed to go cover a special session that, honestly, I didn’t have the full perspective to be able to cover adequately. I realized that if I was going to cover abortion I would need a woman to cover it with me, or instead of me. I came to this decision based on the fact that I work in a predominantly female newsroom and, despite my (very) slight edge of experience in covering the state capitol, it would be inappropriate for me to cover a women’s health issue while excluding them.
I resolved to call my editor back as soon as I got out of the shower and tell him that I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this until he offered it to other women in the newsroom, or unless one of them was at least coming with me. I got out, grabbed my phone and he had responded to my previous email saying I would be going down with a female reporter so that ended up not being a problem after all, but it still stuck in my mind while I was reporting. I would always try and ask myself what one of my female coworkers would be asking or thinking while reporting.
Here are the articles that I worked on while down there:
I had the privilege last Friday to attend a youth town hall at the Columbia Public Library where teenagers grilled their elected representatives. I honestly found it very impressive what these young citizens were interested in and where asking about. Their concern about issues that I wasn’t even beginning to think about at their age was inspiring.
Honestly, I wish I had my life a together as they seem to. I barely managed to make it through the meeting juggling all the jobs I had taking photos, video, notes, audio recordings and paying attention to who said what that I needed to catch afterwards to talk to.
Current Inspiration: I am digging the work of Elizabeth Brumley at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Maybe its the sunny city she is in, or maybe its her style but her work has a bright, lively feel that I really dig right now.
I have now been at the Missourian as a reporter for about three weeks. It has been a wild ride, swinging from busy days spent churning out updates on the Edward Scissorhands-esque trimming of the UM/MU budget to slow days of slogging through river data. While at the Missourian I have written a few articles:
Over the past week I spent five days living at the Assumption Abbey photographing the Trappist and Cistercian monks who live there. This is the result of that time, a small zine of life in a small world set apart.