There are, in every photographer's life, shutter releases that define the course life will take. This image, of a man sitting on a bench in the desert heat of Bahrain, is one of those for me. I took it while passing by on a bus. At the time, I was deployed as an Air Force firefighter, pursuing a career on a full-time civilian department. Back home, I had a good job working on an ambulance as an emergency medical technician. I was content; however, God had other plans. In the desert I discovered a passion for art and storytelling. Images like this one tugged at something deeper within my soul. Back on American soil I tore up my resume and went back to school. Years later, I stumbled into journalism; a full circle back to an endeavor I first glimpsed through the viewfinder, while snapping a photo of a man on a bench.
At home in America, I took an internship with an established and professional Australian photographer, Steven Vote. His dedication to creation and exceptional work inspired me to further pursue my own career. With Steven, I ventured into filmmaking, and taught myself video editing. On weekends, I moonlighted in Boston nightclubs as a photographer. About a year later, I left the internship to finish my undergraduate degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Artistically speaking, my photography improved by leaps and bounds during this time.
My artistic journey took a drastic and sudden step forward after a whirlwind trip through Europe, from Austria through Amsterdam and London to Rome. I left on the trip seeking adventure and photographs, and discovered a new passion. I found a travel addiction that has since taken me around the world to many countries. Of all the images from that first trip, this image, of a man looking out over Bern, Switzerland, particularly stands out. I was passing with a crowd of people through a transportation station quickly, from one train car to another, and was struck by his apparent peacefulness despite the surrounding bustle. I've since sought to capture that idea, of peace in the midst of chaos, through many photographic and literary endeavors.
In my senior year at UMass, I applied for a job as a photographer at 22News, a local news channel. I applied thinking the job was for a still photographer; it wasn't. Instead, it was as a news videographer. I got the job. This accidental step pulled me into the news business. A few months later, I stepped up and became a news producer, writing scripts for newscasts and directing shows behind the scenes. It was intense, and incredibly stressful. Soon, writing took forefront before photography. Almost simultaneous to the ending of my senior year I was hired at The Recorder, a local newspaper covering Franklin County. There, I began honing my craft as a newshound and photojournalist, covering local politics and discovering community journalism.