Freelancing as a Photojournalist the Original Plan
When I went off to college, my plan was to major in photojournalism. My love for photography started at the age of ten when I learned how to develop film in a darkroom. Like many photographers, I experienced that rush of excitement seeing images come to light in a chemical bath under the red hue of a darkroom light.
My First Camera
In high school, I purchased my first single lens reflex camera, a Honeywell Spotmeter Pentax. It served me well and supported my work as my high school’s yearbook editor. Also, I discovered that Kodak Tri-X film was fairly forgiving. I could screw up guessing the correct F-stop and shutter speed and produce images not too over or under exposed.
The summer before my freshman year, I took a photography class at what was then the Maryland Institute of Art. Everyone in the class was much older than me. Once again, I fumbled around in a darkroom, nervously using a beer can opener to extract a roll of film from its canister and then thread it onto a spool in a pitch black darkroom. I’d have my WOW moment when I’d see my images emerge on photographic paper after dipping them into a tray with chemicals.
After our prints dried, we’d post them onto a wall and the professor would critique them. The only print I remember was of my mud crusted construction boots. (It was one of the few times I ever had a job in manual labor other than mowing lawns.) The professor liked the print. I think it was because it was my early attempt at capturing a slice of life. While I didn’t have a photography class in high school, I had been to a photography exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art and saw work by Walker Evans and Dorothy Lange.
So, with my thimble’s worth of photography knowledge I intended to major in photojournalism at Boston University after completing a two-year program in the University’s Division of General Education (DGE). But, in the ensuing two years, I changed my majors multiple times eventually graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature.
Armed with an English degree, I taught at my alma mater, Baltimore City College, for one year and then worked in a variety of jobs in government and for nonprofits. Eventually, I put my creative skills to use in public relations and during my PR career I never put my camera down.
I was late to Facebook but it served as a platform for displaying my photos. Eventually, they drew the attention of some journalists and I started freelancing for the Baltimore Business Journal. That work led to more assignments from other publications, so eventually my path took me to my original plan. The photos shown here were taken for the Baltimore Business Journal and JMore.