Prepare for a(nother) cliche-ridden piece about a long-time staffer who is finally leaving The Daily Texan.
The Basement has become my home away from home, filled with a family I would never dream of trading. And while I still have a semester at UT and a year abroad, this newspaper has defined my college experience, for better or worse.
I remember the night APD was ousting occupiers from City Hall grounds. I was just finishing uploading photos from the march earlier in the day and sitting there weighing the consequences of foregoing all other responsibilities to go back. I don’t know how late I was up that night, but I realized I had just gone all in.
I remember sitting with a few other wide-eyed photo staffers in the photo editor’s apartment my first semester on staff and feeling like we were on the brink of doing great things.
I remember photographing two years of sweaty South by SouthWest and the banal swag that came with it. Then there were the football games I realized I didn’t care about somewhere around the waning moments of the third quarter, even the dramatic ones.
I remember jumping into the pool at a motel we stayed in for no reason and almost going to a high school party in Fredericksburg.
I remember sitting at Hole in the Wall and a bunch of girls telling me to give up and move on and then setting me up on a blind date.
I remember trying to bum cigarettes from fellow staffers, even though I don’t smoke.
I remember looking through the takes of younger staffers and resisting the urge to go burn every photo I’ve ever taken.
To all the photogs who came before and inspired me and the new kids who keep me inspired and ever-humbled, thank you. And to every person I’ve ever photographed, thank you so much.
To the photo and video staff, keep shooting. Keep shooting. Keep shooting. Keep shooting. I’m limited to just 16 inches of text so try to appreciate my emphasis here. But remember you’re still a person. Sometimes you have to put the camera down. Sometimes you have to listen. Many times the ones you cannot hear need a voice. Use your camera to give them a voice.
Remember to live. Your time here will come to an end so much faster than you can possibly imagine, and you don’t want to have been reviewing a shot on a screen when you can look up to see and experience the damn thing with your own eyes. If you ask me what I remember most about any assignment, I’ll tell you all about what happened when I wasn’t shooting. Come to think about it, I’ve never really fully seen the exact moments I’ve photographed because one eye is squinted shut, the mirror flips up and the viewfinder goes black.