My first real freelance job was back in 2008. This is when I started shooting for a local paper in Upstate New York called The Poughkeepsie Journal -- one of the many small circulation papers owned by news conglomerate Gannett Inc.
I was totally inexperienced at the time. I think I had photographed my sisters wedding a few months prior, and my portfolio consisted of those photos and a number of others taken around the family home.
I basically got lucky -- I had emailed the right editor at the right time. Gannett had just massacred his department and laid off most of the full time staff. He needed cheap photographers. At that exact moment in time I was 22 years old and newlywed. I didn't have a degree, and my CV was a long list of dead end retail and manual labor jobs. I'd like to think he recognised a diamond in the rough, but more than likely he recognised somebody willing to do a lot of work for next to nothing.
Over the 2 years I did just that. Looking back I think that was the job that formed me into the photographer I am now, for better or worse. For better -- I am still very comfortable working under deadline, shooting in public, and working with strangers. However, my proclivity for shooting blind doesn't work for everybody. This is a definite a hangover from all those last minute assignments. I still prefer this way of working.
Which leads me to this week. I called my friend Henry yesterday and asked if he'd be up for a shoot today. I didn't know what exactly, but that didn't matter to either of us. Results below.