I didn’t grow up wanting to be a photographer. In fact, I remember the first time I got a roll of film developed as a kid to find my pinky finger was the star subject in most of my exposures. Digging through boxes in my grandma’s garage changed that. Well, sort of.
I served in Iraq in 2009 as a member of the Ohio Army National Guard and like many who return, I wasn’t the same person when I came home. I struggled with the transition from soldier to civilian.
One day, I dug up that same point-and-shoot camera that had shot my pinky finger so many times as a child and began using it to cope with the after-effects of war. Soon after I bought a SLR camera and eventually a DSLR.
I spent the summer of 2010 backpacking across Europe teaching myself the technical skills that I would need for a career in photojournalism.
Through photojournalism I was able to make connections with people from around the world and use those experiences to help me discover my path after the army.
I’ve worked for many different publications such as Cleveland Magazine, the Akron Beacon Journal and the Saginaw News. I was also able to raise money to be able to cover the conflict in Syria.
I continue to grow as a photojournalist through personal projects like my long-term project on mental health and documenting the lives of homeless souls in the dead of winter. I’ll bring the same passion I have for photography to whatever work opportunity comes my way – and I’ll leave my pinky finger out of it.