Position(s): 2018 Staff Photographer, 2019 Assistant Photo Editor, 2020 Senior Sports Photo Editor, 2021 Senior Audience & Engagement Photo Editor
Section(s): Photo, Audience Engagement
Semesters at The Daily: 7
Photography has been a part of my life since the beginning of my creative journey — it’s the vehicle that has influenced my decision to pursue a career in design and continues to drive creative expression for myself and others. So naturally, when I first stepped foot on campus as a wide-eyed freshman and heard about the opportunity to fuse both my love for photography with my passion for storytelling at a student publication, it was a no-brainer. With my time at The Daily, I have worn many shoes and held many positions all as a means to evolve my skill sets and who I am as a person. The experiences I have been a part of both on campus and on the road have shaped a big part of my college experience.
Photo staff is one of the best sections at The Daily because of the exposure to many aspects of the newspaper and the opportunity to attend a wide range of events while staying within the focus of a single skillset. Every piece of writing needs a photo or visual element to elevate the viewing experience and, as I’ve grown within The Daily and its staff, I have grappled with what that means as a photojournalist. Yes, our job as photographers is to capture and edit photos but the greatest lessons and skills I’ve learned from my experience on photo staff come from the editorial side of work. Holding a senior-level position opened doors to parts of the paper that I never knew existed or how they worked. From learning about payroll and revenue operations to making tough decisions about bylaw amendments and how we fundamentally share our content, The Daily is about much more than just being a journalist in your respective skill set. I’m very appreciative of the things I’ve learned not pertaining to my role as a photographer which has helped expose my mind to real-world professional challenges faced every day at an administrative level — things that I will apply to my life way beyond my time on staff.
Many of my fondest memories of working on assignments have revolved around the world of sports. I’ve been a sports fan my entire life, and there is no better place to express that passion at such a historical sports school like the University of Michigan. With my time as both a sports senior editor and photographer, I’ve witnessed many magical moments from the sidelines. The excitement and challenge of trying to capture a game’s most memorable and highlight-worthy moments in an electric atmosphere like the Big House or Crisler Center make what I do never feel like work. My most memorable experience, however, doesn’t come at the expense of a Michigan football letdown or wild buzzer-beating shot: it was the COVID-19 shut down at the 2020 Big 10 Men’s Basketball tournament. One of the most exhilarating experiences of my life was when both the collegiate and professional sports worlds went silent. My most vivid memory comes from standing next to the tunnel leading into the locker rooms, as I watched on waiting for the teams to run onto the court, and then suddenly watching what I assumed to be Michigan’s head medical assistant pushing the team back into the locker room. Within a matter of seconds, the tunnel cleared and the arena went silent. Moments later, the PA system came on stating the tournament had been canceled. Just like that, the season was over. I remember not really having emotions toward the whole ordeal and, honestly, still feeling lucky to have the opportunity to be there — but as we went to hear the press conference from the commissioner about the breaking decision it all began to sink in.
I can’t say enough about the 400+ students on staff whose shared attention to detail and unwavering commitment is an inspiration to watch. From breaking news to the magnitude of creative content being pushed on our platform, it really speaks to the dedication of keeping the community informed in a unique, truthful and unapologetic manner. To me, The Michigan Daily stands for much more than a student newspaper and feels like every production night celebrates the editorial freedom everyone on staff has become accustomed to over the years. Of course, there are so many people to thank both past and present, but I want to give a special shoutout to my Managing Editor queens, Allison and Maddie, who have absolutely owned and stood up for Photo staff over the past 2 years. I don’t know what being a photographer at The Daily would look like without them, and they have been a great support for not only me but for the respect of Photo in total. Love you guys!! Also shoutout to the Sports section and its many members that have come and gone throughout my time, holding various positions and working with their staff. Truly a fruitful group of people.
For everyone on staff across all our sections, your work and commitment toward a singular vision for such a great publication are amazing and it is an absolute joy to watch the wonders you all pull off each and every night. Although my time as an undergrad and an official staff member has come to an end, I know that I leave with the organization light years ahead of where it was when I joined and well positioned for the future. I’ve seen new sections get added, work standards increase, an elevation in content produced and even an entirely new award-winning website developed and launched, and that is all a testament to your hard work. I cannot wait to see where things go from here. Go Blue!
Your local friendly neighborhood photographer,