A preface to the beginning and an end

Blogger note: You may be noticing a pattern of my college history and my “flux” through this year and photography in my past few blogs. I know, I know. You’re tired of it, and probably want my blog to go back to what it was before (which now that I think of it I can’t remember what that is). But follow me through this one and I’ll get you a fully established and exciting blog. But this is necessary first:

OK, go. I think I had this all wrong.


Start: freshman year, college. I dove into the first place I found myself comfortable: Kernel. I found myself comfortable taking photos and thought I had something figured out. Wrong.

I wasn’t doing journalism. Randomly pointing my lens, I wasn’t a documentary photographer. I was more like a child with a disposable. Aimlessly shooting my eye, and our viewers, to pretty pictures. Much of my first year was spent learning photography. Photojournalism is deeper than pretty pictures.

Second semester, freshman year, college. I fell into being assistant photo editor along with another photographer. Looking back I can see I was in no way prepared for that job. I remember being nervous to edit photos in front of my peers. Who was I, a photographer for only a few months, to say what work of theirs would run, and what wasn’t enough?

After a semester, I had developed my skills at editing photos through the help of older Kernelites like Keith Smiley and Hilly Schiffer. And of course, Dave LaBelle was always around.


Are you seeing what I am seeing? Not yet? OK, go again.

Up to speed: Second semester, end of freshman year, college. I apply to become the next year’s photo editor, and fell into the position. Terribly excited I remember getting the phone call and pulling over to the side of the road. It was a huge accomplishment for me.

Summer following freshman year, college. Academic intern at the Lexington Herald-Leader. I still was taking pictures that seemed pretty, but I was more likely to apply my Journalism 101 ethical code to my analysis of my situations. My lack of understanding of my responsibility at hand hurt me at the Herald-Leader. It came across as apathy. My stomach turns to think about how apathetic I probably was.

Fast forward: sophomore year, photo editor, college. I shot pictures. A lot. Then fell into doing the job I had been so excited to do. Be a picture editor. To edit. My sophomore year I tried to manage my team of college photographers as a professional staff. I think that probably got the best of me. Some of my friends recall how unhealthy and miserable I seemed by this time last year. Only sleeping 3-5 hours a night (every night) and working 45 hours a week, photo editor is a hard job, and still is for those who are in that position.

Second semester of sophomore year, college. The burden weighed in. It was too much. I couldn’t take it anymore, and just wanted to have my life back. I cracked. Which is easy to do if you’re not prepared for what comes at you. I was weak. But it’s OK, I still learned. I maintained a position as an editor, but was no longer running the show.

Through sophomore year I produced a few portfolio making stories. They will eventually get worked out of my portfolio as I shoot more.

But there lies the problem.

Through all of these editing positions I have felt more comfortable doing what I have mostly done since being at this school, which should be more clear to you now than before. I have been a photo editor through college, even before I should have been. So back to my question, “Am I a better photo editor than a photographer?” Yes. But I have made myself that way.

Scene change.

I’m out of the Kernel now. Moved to the Kentuckian. I thought they were two separate entities at first. I even presented it that way to our photo staff when I started here. All in all, that may have been the best way to start. To make it evident that they are not one in the same. They have different motives, paces and consequences.

But starting next semester we’ll all be working harder. Together.


Curtain close. It’s the intermission.


2 Responses to “A preface to the beginning and an end”

  1. captureamoment Says:

    What jim said last night about documenting vs. reacting to events. that really got me. Sometimes i totally feel like that, like im not really “doing journalism.”

    You said, “I am a better picture editor than photographer becuase i made myself that way.”

    Is that who you wanted to make yourself, or just who you’ve become?

    Are you happier picture editing because youre better at it, or just because its what you love doing?

    Just something to think about.

  2. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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