A few weeks ago, while on assignment, I had three individuals approach me.
All three individuals knew that I was a photographer for The Virginian-Pilot. Two of them greeted me by name. They’d all recognized me from unrelated assignments throughout the community that they had been at and that I had been covering for the paper.
The first time I was approached it put a smile on my face, the second time an even bigger smile. And the third? The third nearly moved me to tears.
You see, in years past, when I’ve reached the point where members of the community start to recognize me- it came with a different feeling. It came with the reality after I’d worked hard to get to know the community, that soon it would be time to pack up and start all over again in a new community.
This month marks 7 months for me in Norfolk as a full-time staff photographer. As in, more than half a year. It’s longer than I’ve ever been employed at the same paper and longer than I’ve ever lived in the same place in over 3 years, aside from my ten month stint in Columbus.
Getting to know a community that I can now call my own and having that same community get to know me has been everything. It’s also something that honestly, I hadn’t realized I was missing.
I initially started writing this blog post for six months. I was excited for the milestone, but then I realized that I’d hit this milestone before.
In years past, the six month post had been my goodbye post.
But here, it’s just the beginning. And for that, I’m SO thankful.
The last few months have been come with their share of ups and downs. Adjusting to a new city, new job, new routine and new surroundings is hard work- but it’s been a great ride and I’m thankful for the support I’ve had from my friends, family and co-workers.
During my internships my time at a paper was mostly focused on growing as a photographer and meeting career goals. While that’s still (obviously) important here, there’s also been a shift toward me. I’ve continued to learn things about myself over the months that I didn’t even know.
Like that I have an unhealthy obsession with houseplants. Something I would have never known before because when you have to pack your life into your car every six months, you don’t get to have many houseplants.
Or that I love decorating, thrifting and making my house a home.. (okay, okay..I already knew this, but again, it's something that wasn't possible before moving here)
I'm learning that as a (mostly) introvert working an extroverted job, that it's OK that sometimes I need my days off to recharge.
I've also learned that I enjoy shooting video. Something that previously I hadn’t had the support, encouragement, or resources to explore.
Overall, I’m finally realizing that by taking better care of me, I’m able to offer more of myself to others and I’m able to be a better shooter, and a better human being.
So many things about the last seven months have been good for my soul.
The last few months have brought a lot of daily work, a few projects, and the start of a long-term story that I look forward to sharing in the future. Here are a few of my favorite images from the last few months. Mostly published and a few outtakes as well.
Thanks for looking.