When this season rolls around its a good time to look through the work you have done within the past year. Internships all across the country are taking college journalists and at the same time as well College Photographer of the Year has its annual competition. Its a time of the year that was pretty stressful for me personally. On top of working pretty much everyday, I had to sit down and compile what I thought was my best work. Luckily I have a couple of awesome local professionals that I can call in for a favor and have them rip through my edits and let me get an ear full. Which I think is the best way to put it.
Photojournalism is a craft, its a skill that you have to work towards every single day. I contrast photojournalism with medical professions. In my mind I see having a medical degree is something you work really hard for while in academia, then when you leave you have all the skills possible. Photojournalism or any journalism you have to work day and night for and you are always improving. For example I shoot around 20 assignments within a two week span and look back at what I shot. Then I take that to my mentors and have them find things I cant get myself to see. My composition, my approach, the visually strengths and weaknesses.
All said the next step after the pain staking process of compiling your work is to send it off. Which is a terrifying experience in itself because you strain yourself to dig through your work, and nothing comes from it. The mass amount of good photojournalists in this country is insane, and with staff positions becoming far a few its hard to justify breaking yourself. It almost seems hopeless, especially when you hear from people in the industry that jobs are scarce, hours are long and the pay is terrible. The pay is something I dont care about, or the hours, but the idea of not having job security is something that shakes me up. Back to my medical degree contrast, you bust your ass for eight years to ten years and become a doctor, but your "grind" never stops as a journalist, even more so a photojournalist.
Thats why this time of the year is so straining because putting yourself out there in the hopes that someone finds you is really the only way a young photographer has a chance. With so many publications requiring you to have an existing internship under your belt, you get caught in this system. A system of revolving let down. You cant get brought on to your first internship due to not having a prior internship, so how are you going to get the first internship? On top of living in a city that has a metro paper that wont work with young photojournalists to get their foot in the door...now this has turned into a rant.
The upside to all of this is that Ive been shooting like a mad man and having 12 hour days. Things to take away from this. Extra batteries, 32g cards, food and coffee.