visual storyteller

A time for reflection

Added on by Monica Herndon.

It's Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful for the good in our lives. This is my first away from all of my family, so I'm especially thankful I'll be visiting them in a few weeks. 

Doing the black and white challenge got me reflecting on important moments in my short career as a photojournalist. I took this photo of a jazz musician in 2012 in New Orleans at the New York Times Student Journalism Institute. Like many of the workshops I've attended, I arrived nervous, scared and ridiculously unprepared. But I survived (lol). So I'm thankful for the various training and mentorship opportunities afforded me as a young journalist of color. 

The next fall I worked on a series on ballet dancers with one of my favorite professors. She pushed me to experiment and be creative and keep going back. As a former dancer, I was excited to get back into the studio and combine my two loves. I'm thankful for the dancers who let me in and my professors who encouraged and critiqued me. 

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Fast forward to Summer 2013 during my first internship. After fretting over not finding a story, this one fell into my lap. I met Marceo and his mom at a 4H fair in Baltimore County. I'm thankful for Marceo and his mom, and those great stories begging to be shared.

This fall I attended the Missouri Photo Workshop. After a frustrating week of story and soul searching I met Victoria. As a "Mama to Many" she was incredibly inspiring. I'm thankful for Victoria and her family for letting me in to their lives. I'm also thankful for my instructors and peers for inspiring me and encouraging me thorough the self doubt. 

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Here and now. I'm about halfway through my six months in St. Pete. Though there have been ups and downs, I feel like I'm growing, which is good. I've started more actively feature hunting, often in my time off. I found this couple near the bay in downtown St. Pete. I'm thankful for all the strangers who willingly become my subjects, who trust me and my camera, and who open their hearts and homes to me. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be a photog. 

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with your family (or friends). 

DISCLAIMER: I'm also thankful for my supportive parents, family, friends near and far, editors, my landlords, teachers, mentors, beer, Netflix and my bed, among many other things. 

Thank you.