AFN photographer bids fond farewell to ‘Tukee - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

AFN photographer bids fond farewell to ‘Tukee

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 4:07 pm | Updated: 6:43 am, Mon Sep 8, 2014.

So ever since I gave my two weeks notice I started wondering what will I miss most about working for a daily/weekly newspaper. It’s been in my blood for more than 30 years after I started giving photos of football games to The Chandler Arizonan my junior year in high school.

There’s so many things I’ll miss. Sports were my passion, but the adrenaline rush of spot news really got me going. I’ll miss my hard working dedicated co-workers working bizarre hours just to give the readers accurate news stories and story-telling images. Working side by side with other photographers (the competition) was awesome. The camaraderie we had was special.

But what I think I’ll miss most are some of the touching people I’ve meant along the way and how they enriched my life and our readers’ lives. Single parents working and taking care of their special needs kids and doing it with a smile on their face and love in their heart. Getting a history lesson I’ll never forget after spending five hours with an 80-year-old Japanese-American gentleman who spent a few years in an interment camp south of Chandler. You’re never too old to learn or to be inspired.

And if you combine sports and kids, you’ve touched my heart. I love doing stories on kids overcoming obstacles in their lives and succeeding. It seems I always try to go the extra mile to make their image a little stronger and a little more compelling. I think it’s the least I can do. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most. Those individuals that have faced tough issues in their lives and not only overcome, but inspire others to do better, like myself.

I loved being a photojournalist, it’s all I ever wanted to be. It allowed me to see things in person most only ever see on television or view in a newspaper. I’ve witnessed so much history in my 20-plus-year journey. I’ve photographed four United States Presidents, three Super Bowls, and arguably the greatest World Series in recent memory, and that’s only the fun stuff. I’ve seen death and destruction like the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, devastating forest fires that engulfed Arizona, and Arizona politics (boy that’s been real ugly).

It wasn’t always easy, but it was always fun. I worked with great photographers, talented writers and gifted page designers and editors along the way. All of them made me want to go to work every day, it was NEVER boring in a busy newsroom.

Some photographers hated deadlines, I always thrived on them. I did some of my best work on deadlines. I stayed focused knowing I had to get something compelling out ASAP and being focused on the tasked at hand was what it was all about.

You see, a lot of photographers including myself probably suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD). Most of us have never been diagnosed, but had they done that testing back in the ’70s and ’80s, I can guarantee I would have been on medication.

I was built to be a photojournalist, some photographers were born to be commercial or portrait photographers, not me. I was lucky and talented enough to follow my passion and make a career out of it. And I’m very proud of that career.

I’m not done shooting, I don’t think I’ll ever put the camera down.

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