I don't exactly have a great argument about how I was not born a creative - I believe my upbringing and surroundings influenced that artistic drive over the course of time. I was raised in an area void of a creative community; like many other schools, our art department suffered more and more every year. I felt the wealth of stories that surrounded my everyday life were begging to be told, imaginations run deep in my small town - so, why were they not told? The whole world is tippy toeing to look over the fence into Appalachia, they want to know these stories, these characters. My problem? I didn't have a camera.
The nearest camera store clocked in about two hours away from my home; I was 19 years old when I finally purchased my own Canon camera. It didn't take years to walk two hours up the road, that wasn't exactly what I was implying, it simply took a while to earn the money to afford it. The camera was a necessity for my college classes, though the instructors never exactly taught me how to tell stories - or care about the subjects. I had to figure that out, and that is when I applied to work in broadcast news.
I spent around five years working with CBS affiliates, having my work broadcasted through CNN, FOX, and ESPN. Handling stories of high stress environments (protests, shootings), heartbreaking emotional distress, and severe weather - I needed a change of scenery after learning the structure of storytelling. I have been freelance for two years, focusing heavily on narrative pieces about people - good people doing good things. I had an opportunity to collaborate with another journalist on a series concerning the impact of a historic flood in a small Kentucky town, it won an Emmy Award.
I have learned that the stories about the people hold their weight. They are incredibly valuable and desperately needed to remind us of who we are. People are hungry for these stories, because there's one to tell behind every product, event, business, and person.
After spending close to 10 years with a camera in my hands, I intend to keep capturing these stories to the best of my ability.