It's been about a year since I shot my first basketball game, and again, I'm amazed at how far I've come since then. I've been applying for photojournalism internships left and right, I've finished my final photo story for my photo story class, and I've been putting in a lot of time working for athletics.
This semester I've focused a lot on my photography. Almost half a year ago, I lost an important person in my life, and since then, I've struggled with defining who I am and who I want to be. It's taken several months to figure out which things in my life I truly love, and lucky for me, I figured out that one of those things was photography. I used to be the kind of person that put in the minimum amount of effort required. If you asked me last year how I was doing, I would've told you that I was happy. I would've told you that I was happy with my major, happy with my friends, happy with life. However, what I know now is that last year I wasn't truly happy, I was merely satisfied. I was going through the motions, I was doing enough to simply "get by." I had constant praise from a close friend, so I never had to truly believe in myself on my own, I just had to have people tell me that they believed in me. I didn't even know what it felt like to truly feel proud of your own work. The recent changes in my life have shown me that true happiness can only be gained by pursuing your passions with tremendous zeal. These life changes have shown me the value of self-confidence, something which has influenced not only my photojournalism work but also my personal life.
I'll say it again, but it's been a tough semester. My best friend is no longer in my life, I've felt sadness following the deaths of two former classmates, I stuck through a history class that challenged me beyond belief, a portion of my final photo project was erased when my hard drive crashed, and I've experienced many other unlucky things. However, having these lows has made me appreciate the highs that much more. I have come to absolutely love my job; you know it's no longer work when you show up to sporting events to photograph for fun! I pursued projects in my photojournalism class that were out of the ordinary, such as the photo story that I did on Catholic nuns. I applied for internships that I knew I probably wouldn't get, just to say that I did. I reached out and became friends with other students in VisCom, something I had neglected to do last year.
To sum it all up in a few words, photojournalism has given me a purpose. While I don't know exactly where I want to go with it, I do have a couple directions in mind. I love doing stories, I love getting to know people, and I love to feel like I'm making a difference with my photography. Part of the reason that I wanted to do the story on the nuns was to be able to show the world something that most people will never get the chance to see. Isn't that the purpose of photojournalism? To make a difference? I think so. I've also fallen in love with my job with athletics, as I've mentioned above. I've always loved sports, and shooting sports challenges me every single time I do it. The other day, someone badgered me about why on earth I'd want to work in sports. The world is pretty tough on female sports journalists, but that has only made me want to pursue it further, to prove to all people that a woman is just as valuable in this field as a man. But that's just the kind of person I've become: a person who at times, may encounter some walls, but who also has the courage to leap over them.
To my professors: thank you for your critiques, no matter how harsh. They really make me a better photographer.
To my new photo friends: thank you for all of your advice and editing assistance, as well as your light-heartedness. We all need some laughs now and then, especially in such a competitive field.
To the one who walked out of my life: thank you, you've done more for me than you could have ever anticipated. I'm forever grateful.
(This is the part of the blog post where I would add my favorite images that I made over the course of the semester. However, due to the fact that I lost most of them in the hard-drive crash, I'll leave you with some of the photos I shot at the basketball game tonight.)