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How did I get into photography? Well, it all started with my mom.

My mom, Karen Hickey, got her first camera when she was in seventh grade. She took up photography as a hobby. But, when my brother and I started playing sports, she decided to get more serious about photography. 

She took a sports photography class, met the owner of International Sports Images (ISI)–a photography agency–and started shooting sporting events for Stanford University. That was ten years ago. 

My mom followed our sports careers from Greene Middle School to Palo Alto High School. She volunteered to photograph the band at varsity football games and eventually directed her lens from the sidelines to the field when my brother joined the team. 

My mom played softball at Stanford during her freshman year of college, and since we live near Stanford, my mom would bring us to just about every sporting event from football to men’s volleyball. When she took up sports photography, she thought it would be fun to shoot these sports as a way to improve her craft and get more involved in the Stanford community. Since then, she has taken pictures of every sport and even does marketing promotion shoots. 

My mom works as a social media marketer. Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.

She realized photography was worthwhile when a softball player came up to her at a game, five years after she had photographed her, telling her that the picture she took was framed and hanging on her wall. The player couldn’t wait to show it to her grandkids.

Photography remains a hobby for my mom; she has a full-time job as a social media marketer. While she admits that it is difficult to balance her job and her hobby, she seems to it pull it off quite effortlessly.

On a recent trip home, I followed my mom while she photographed a women’s gymnastics meet at Stanford. Here’s how the day went.

My mom packs up her bags and checks the settings on the camera before heading to Maples Pavilion.
Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
In between rotations, she sends photos to the social media coordinator. Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
At the end of the meet, she keeps her cameras ready for any athletes who want photos. Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.
After we arrive home, she gets her computer out and starts editing her photos. Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.

With a plethora of camera equipment in the house and two curious children, it’s no surprise that my brother and I followed in my mom’s footsteps. We both picked up a camera around the beginning of our freshman year of high school through similar paths. We would both take pictures at games and give them to my mom to edit before we decided to edit our own photos. We both joined our high school’s sports magazine, The Viking, and were photo editors. I even used one of my brother’s photoshoots as an inspiration for my own. 

Photo courtesy of Karen Ambrose Hickey.

This passion has followed both of us to college. Me at The Michigan Daily and my brother at The Purdue Exponent. 

Photo Courtesy of Jenna Hickey for The Viking.
Photo Courtesy of David Hickey.

To me, photography is much more than a hobby; it is something that brings my family together. It is a bond that unites us.

Saturday mornings in the Hickey household are somewhat of a holy ritual. After waking up, my mom, my older brother and I open our computers and edit photos from the previous night’s football game. For about one or two hours, the house is completely silent. Then, one of us says, “I’m uploading!” to warn the others that the WIFI is going to be slow.

I blame the slow WIFI on my mom.

Photo courtesy of the Hickey family. Jenna Hickey/Daily. Buy this photo.

Assistant Photo Editor Jenna Hickey can be reached at