Sunday was the last day for Lincoln Journal Star’s latest intern, Shannon Guthrie. Before she left to go back to school at Western Kentucky University, she decided to create an intern packet that would be filled with advice from staff members and previous interns to be passed along from intern to intern. Good idea.
While waiting for a photo to happen, I started writing. Below are the words of wisdom I came up with.
There is feature hunting and there is feature fishing. I’m doing the latter today, nestled down by a stream waiting for some disk golfers to come my way.
Yesterday was Shannon Guthrie’s last day as our photo intern and she wanted me to shed some words of wisdom. I assume she is after more than “buy low, sell high.” But how about “write drunk, edit sober”?
Some words of wisdom just have to be figured out on an individual basis, but it doesn’t usually take long for an intern to find truth in the credo, “A bad day on the road is better than a good day at the office.”
Interns come and interns go. Frequently interns find themselves locked into a frenzy worried about how well they are doing as an intern. Are they as good as the last intern? Or the next?
The best interns are those who bring lots of enthusiasm with them when they go to work. It is less important at this stage in your development that you are eager to learn from both your successes and failures-and there will be plenty of both-than it is to come back with a good photo from every shoot.
The staff members that you work with are old. They are tired. They have shot the same events over and over. The enthusiasm you bring to the table is contagious. Look at the world with wide-open eyes lake those of a child. Get pumped. Get excited. Challenge yourself. Challenge your staff.
It’s not good enough to be able to accept criticism. EMBRACE IT!!!
You will become a better photographer and a better person quicker by humbly improving on your weaknesses than by trying to improve on what you already do right.
Be a good person. Read philosophy. Don’t be unfair to people who march to a different drum than yourself. It takes all kinds of people to make this world interesting.
While you are in Nebraska accept the differences in the culture from what you are used to. Lots of people get down on Nebraskans for being too conservative. Those same photographers often times are the ones who claim they would like to do a stint covering the changes in Afghanistan. Guess what? Afghanistan is REALLY conservative. Deal with it. Document it.
As an intern you might have to deal with a crummy schedule. It’s okay. You might be in this profession for 30 years or more. Wouldn’t it be nice if you only had to work nights and weekends for the first few of those? The rest of your years as a photojournalist, you can let the intern do it.
Don’t forget, you are new to this. Like everybody else, you have to pay your dues. Do it humbly.
For crying out loud, why are there not any disk golfers? It is a beautiful day.