Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Has it been that long?

Tri-County Fair, 2002.
A revelation hit me today as I was on my way to my first assignment of the day. I've been shooting pictures for the Mankato Free Press for 10 years, today.

It dawned on me as I was on my way to the Tri-County Fair at the Caledonia Curling Club building (now the Caledonia Community Center, I guess). The Tri-County Fair was the first assignment I shot for the Free Press 10 years ago. I remember being a bit nervous even though I had been a professional shooter for 5 years before that assignment. I just wanted to find a good photo, something that would earn the respect of my new coworkers and bosses.

I'd love to say I found a photo that blew everyone's socks off. Something that made everyone gather around my monitor expounding with "Ooos" and "Ahhhs," but it didn't happen. I was happy with the photo, don't get me wrong. I felt it was something worth putting my name under. It had a good moment between a young 4-Her and his cow as he waited to be judged.

This year's Tri-County Fair photo.

It was the start of something I didn't think would last this long. The start of finding a place I could call home. A place where I could get comfortable, get to know well and tell the stories of the people that live here. A place where the familiarity of 10 years living in a place would help bring trust, friendship, and good pictures.

I've taken thousands of photos for The Free Press since then, many of them better than the one I shot that day. But that one will always stick out for me, just because it was the first.

I remember it being a good first week at The Free Press. I made pictures I was happy with that week and started friendships with coworkers that have lasted 10 years, and hopefully will last many more. The Tri-County Fair started a 10-year exploration of southern Minnesota I hope continues for a long time.

1 comment:

Rachael Hanel said...

This is exactly what community journalism is all about. Someone who sticks around and cares about the LOCAL community. Thanks for being our eyes!