My first year with the Aurora Advocate
July 20, 2018
About this time last year I met Eric Marotta. He was going around taking pictures of people working at an event in Aurora that I was attending and I told him that I was a photographer too. He told me he was taking pictures that day but was the editor of the Aurora Ohio newspaper, the Aurora Advocate, or as it is called locally "the Advocate." They didn't have a photographer on staff and I gave him my card. A week later he called me and I began my first work in photojournalism.
My first job was at the local library for a semi annual gathering for young ladies with their family to make some traditional turn of the 20th century treats, see a collection of dolls, and learn and play in the spirit of life a hundred years ago. The kids were adorable and it was a lot of fun. About a week later the paper was published with one of my pictures on the cover and several more inside.
Since that first job there have been small assignments such as the presentation of a new podium to the high school and bigger jobs like the father daughter dance held by the National Honor Society and coverage of the Memorial day parade, speeches and activities. The picture above is one of my favorites, taken at the induction of this years National Honor Society members at the auditorium of the high school. During the ceremony new inductees were called one at a time to come up from their seat in the audience and then with an existing member lighting their candle and escorting them they walked across the floor next to the stage and eventually take a seat on stage. The thing was, the room was dark, other than the lights on the stage. The students walking in front of the stage were walking towards me and I expected that there would not be any good shots of this part of the evening. Then I saw two faint spots of light on the path they were walking on, just enough light to maybe allow for a half decent shot.
When Elizabeth Keller was called I waited for her to step into the spot lit area nearest me on stage right, and as luck would have it not only was she lit from above the stage she was about to be on was the background that made the image both meaningful and the cover shot for the story.
For anyone in the Aurora Ohio area I have a gallery of pictures from various assignments for the paper. All of the published photos and some of the others are in galleries with the name of the event. The paper credits give the website, and the easiest way to see the photos is to search the website for Aurora Advocate which will take you to the folder with the various galleries inside. Pictures are available for purchase, I contribute the photos to the newspaper and they advertise my site as they currently do not have a budget for a photographer.
For photographers out there who might be wondering why I would work for free I believe there are several good reasons for doing so. First, it is an opportunity to have access to events and people that otherwise I would not get to shoot. Next, it is a challenge to get good photos in situations where you will not get a second chance. Also, it puts me in contact with many people in the area and I carry business cards to every assignment. But the most important reason for me, is that it is a chance to give something back. I am blessed to be able to be a photographer, to do the thing I love for a living. I have found that it is never possible to give back enough in life, somehow I always get more back in return.