I won first place in the youth category photo contest in Vacaville with a point and shoot camera. The prizes include gel pens (remember those?) McDonalds gift certificats, a Vacaville mug, an embroidered Vacaville sweatshirt and a Jelly Belly gum-ball machine along with tons of free jelly beans. On the spot, I decided I would enter the contest every year up until graduation... always with a point and shoot.
I received a Canon Digital Rebel as a graduation present from my parents with the agreement that when I went to Berkeley (or Bezerkely as they'd say), I would only take pictures of the "weirdos" and not join them... obviously I didn't hold up my end of the bargain ;-)
At summer orientation, I saw a student of smaller statue waving the giant Cal flag and decided my college goal (apart from graduating with a degree from the #1 public university) would be to wave the flag at a football game. I joined Rally Committee, learned to wave the flag, and would bring my canon rebel down to the games with me and take pictures whenever I wasn't waving to Big C.
Start of sophomore year, after having fun with my camera at field level, I thought it would be cool to photograph the game! And not just football, but all Cal sports. I found the email address of company which had the contract as official photographer of Cal Athletics and asked them if they had, or wanted to create, an internship position. I designed my own internship which included photographing every game I could possibly attend in between classes, studying, and my part-time job at the Alumni Association.
I started pursuing a professional career more and through ISI photos had some great opportunities to cover MLS and US Soccer.
When I realized I couldn't grow further under the umbrella of ISI, and not wanting to have a 2nd job to supplement a photography hobby but actually be a photographer, I started reaching out to to see what else I could cover.
Matt Cohen helped get me in to cover a rodeo and connected me to South Creek Global (which has since folded, but Matt is still killin' it as "the world's finest rodeo photographer").
Shooting for them made me realize I could connect to other spec agencies and I started working for ICON Sports Images.
Next, Kyle Terada heard that I was available for assignments outside of ISI and asked if I wanted to join US Presswire.
A few short months after joining US Presswire, they were purchased by Gannett which owned USA Today and we were rebranded as USA Today Sports Images.
All the while, I was picking up side gigs (16th birthday parties, 70th birthday parties, portraits of chefs, musicians, friends)
I covered my first wedding when a college friend asked if I would cover his sister's wedding.
I'm not sure what's next, but I'm definitely excited for it!
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