The Beginning

It is an idea that started with a let down.

I was looking for an adventure during the summer of 2007, which I seemed to have found through an internship. Dave LaBelle, photo advisor of the Kentucky Kernel and a good friend, knew a man in Alaska that ran several magazines. Every year there was a paid internship, and if I wanted it, there seemed to be a good chance.

After a little work and investigation, I found that Dave’s friend, Rob, had lost his ability to pay his interns. My trip fell through.

Dave and I talked about what I was going to do during the summer. I told him if I didn’t have that internship, I would probably just be heading to Florida for a week to go lobstering with a friend.

Then Dave LaBelle made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Dave invited me to go with him and his family to California for two months. With no idea of why, when or how I was going to pay for it, I committed.

It wasn’t long after my friends found out, that a few of them were interested. Elliott Hess, a new-comer to the Kernel, super passionate student and future assistant photo editor walked into Dave’s office one day, and just told Dave, “I want to go to California with you.”


Shortly after Elliott’s commitment, one of the most dedicated people I know was coming with us. Ed Matthews, the up and coming photo editor of the Kernel, was on board for the trip.

It’s been questionable as to whether or not Keith Smiley will show up. He’s very spontaneous and likely to just be standing on our door step with a smile and a camera bag one day.

Over the past six months we’ve hardly had a plan. At first we were living with Dave, then we were on our own. After a nonexistent search for an apartment, we landed an opportunity to live with one of Dave’s friends, Martha. Despite not meeting Martha, it’s safe to say that anyone who will open up their arms to a group of strangers for a friend has to be a great person.

The disappointment of not being able to work in Alaska didn’t last long. As most people, I’ve always wanted to go to California. I just never thought I would have a trip so personal and open to whatever I wanted.


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