Usually I don’t go to these kinds of things, and when I do, I find the people trite or the message useless. This time, however, was completely different. So here’s a panel that 1) is relevant to my life 2) is required for class 3) I have to photograph 4) one of my internship mentors will be panel-ing. No pressure.
Free food aside, the panel was actually amazingly insightful. Those panelists didn’t give me enough time between revelations to get bored or to take stunning photos. The nerd in me even appreciated anecdotes from the video game producers and web developers of whose positions I understand little to nothing.
Most importantly, I learned that I have not screwed up my life yet. I learned that my existing degrees can only help me (a fact that seems obvious but I really do doubt it sometimes), my instinct to get out and shoot is completely correct, and that my internship will help me more than I know. I learned that all experience is good experience, and that the five years I spent at Medieval Times saying “taller in the back, shorter in the front, squeeze in real close…” like a robot has only helped me. Every time I get bored and try to take a stunning photograph of dirty dishes has only helped me. Every time I talked a guest out of calling customer service has only helped me.
I will say though, that the only panelist who mentioned income was Josh, and I’m very curious to know if these other artistic venues are extremely lucrative… Everyone mentioned that specialization was key, but how you need to be able to do everything, which really calls my attention (and fear) to how newspapers (and thus, photojournalism) are dying, thus lowering the possibility of me ever being able to do what I want and have a roof over my head. While game development and web design are exploding into the limelight, photojournalism is slowly fading away. Of course no one wanted to talk about that in an uplifting, you-can-do-this career panel.
Although, as most of the panelists mentioned, continuing education is highly important (which is what I’m already doing, right?). I just fear that for us journalists, our education is going to be learning how to juggle a video camera, still camera, notepad, and probably some other things that haven’t been invented yet at the same time and then editing it all into a story that is ready for web and press in just 60 seconds. Or something ridiculous like that. But at least I know I’m on the right path for that, or whatever it is that awaits me in photojournalism.
I just feel like… it took me so long to figure out what I want to do with my life, and then start to do it and realize yes, I was right, that the last thing I need is for my career field to disappear.
Don’t get me wrong, the career panel was highly motivating, very awesome, and thought provoking. Its just that the thoughts went in a more negative direction after the lights were turned off and assignments were turned in.
But I have this internship. One Sunday at a time.