Friday, August 31, 2007


When I was in high school, I wanted to be a sports photographer. I called the local daily newspaper and asked them if I could take pictures of high school sports for them. They gave me a tryout on a girls' soccer game and I guess I did okay because I was soon taking pictures for them every once in a while.

I hung around that paper a lot, and eventually got a job working in their darkroom. I'd drag my ass in there at 4 am to develop film and make prints for the paper. Occasionally I'd pick up an assignment and get a photo credit in the paper. I quit college because all the photography classes were artsy-fartsy and I wanted to be a "photojournalist." When I quit I went back working for my hometown newspaper, as much as I could.

The paper had a new chief photographer and he really took a shine to me and let me do a ton more work for him. He'd call me and ask me to go shoot some event, and I was a regular for Friday night football games in the fall. I was tight with the assistant sports editor that did all the work and made all the assignments.

Things went wrong when the chief photographer had a seizure in the darkroom. Turns out he had left the Navy because of epilepsy and couldn't work anymore for liability reasons. I applied for the chief photog job but wasn't seriously considered because I didn't have a college degree. They hired someone near my age with almost no experience, but he did have that piece of paper I lacked.

This basically inspired me to return to college and get that piece of paper, and even though I didn't get my degree in communications I went right back to work for a newspaper when I graduated. But this time I was more than just a photographer, I was also a sportswriter so I was responsible for a lot more than just taking pictures.

I miss those days when I would go to a sports event and just take pictures. I got the opportunity to go to Redskins games, Bullets (before they were the Wizards) games and I went to nearly every home game of the local minor league baseball team.

Now that everything is digital the job is much easier. I've been thinking of contacting some local papers to see if they need some help shooting the Friday Night football games for some of the local high schools. I don't have the pro-level equipment in digital that I have for film cameras, but some of it crosses over and I think I could produce some pretty fine pictures.

I have some email addresses for local sports guys at the newspapers. I just haven't pulled the trigger. Yet. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for.


Shelly said...

Do it!!!! :)

jjok said...

.....and good luck. Sounds like fun.