After living in Baltimore my entire life, I moved to Boston last March with two goals: to work for the Red Sox and to go to graduate school. Today, I graduated from Boston University with a Master of Science in Journalism, and it feels pretty darn good. I think I’m done with school for a long, long time.
What a year to be a photojournalist in Boston. It’s been a crazy, roller coaster ten month ride, and from what I gather in conversations with professors within the College of Communication, one unlike any other.
Just thinking about the stories we covered makes my head spin. In the Fall, we were thrown right into the middle of a presidential election, and within days of our first class we’re shooting Obama campaign events, documenting rallies, and covering election night from inside the Mitt Romney headquarters. In the Winter, we’re knee deep in snow, out covering winter storm Nemo. In the Spring, we’re shooting and reporting in the middle of an attack on the Boston Marathon. Between it all, we’re telling the smaller stories: The kite flying fisherman, the one man band, the piano maker, the early morning runners in Boston Common, and the Head of the Charles race to name a few.
In November, our graduate photojournalism class of five students became a class of four, as we lost one of our peers and friends, Chris Weigl. I wish he were here for this day.
It’s hard to make sense of all of that, and I still don’t know if it’s all sunk in yet. What I do know, though, is that given all that’s happened, we’re more prepared to do journalism the right way than anyone else out there. We can cover any kind of story under any circumstances. I’m optimistic about where journalism is now and where it’s going.
Personally, I had a great year, although it was ridiculously busy and, at times, stressful. Trying to balance the work of a full-time student with a job that requires long, odd hours was tough, and I found it difficult to devote equal energy and effort to both school and work. I won’t miss running back and forth between Fenway Park and the COM building through that disgusting Beacon Street parking lot two or three times a day.
What will last, though, are the friends made and the connections solidified. I come out of this program with a new set of skills related to multimedia journalism, but more importantly, with a new network of friends and colleagues. In our world, nothing is more important.
As for my plans from here on, I’m going to continue shooting for the Sox, and continue freelancing on the pro tennis tour and around Boston. We’ll see what life brings.
A huge thank you to the family, friends, professors, and mentors who helped me through this year! I’m a lucky guy. Congratulations to the Class of 2013.
I’m here in the terminal in the Palm Springs airport, in the middle of a long delay that was just announced when I got here at 4:30 this morning. I can already feel my tan fading, and it seems like I’ll be welcomed back to Boston later tonight with a fresh dusting of snow.
Since I have some downtime now, I wanted to take this opportunity to post my photos from all the championship action yesterday, and to reflect a bit on my experience over the past two weeks working as a photographer and videographer for the 2013 BNP Paribas Open.
Yesterday was a crazy day, but a thrill to be on hand to shoot those final points and player portraits with the trophies. I’m particularly happy with the images I got of Rafa as he won championship point. I definitely chose the right spot to be in.
Overall, I worked harder, longer hours at this tournament than at any other one I’ve done in the past. One guy covering an entire Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s worth of courts was a grind, particularly during the early rounds when there were so many matches going on. You’ll never hear me complain about warm weather, but it gets hot out here in the desert when you’re lugging all the photo gear up and down stadium steps all day.
I was brought here to work hard, though, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I loved every second of it, even the crazy moments where it felt like I had to be in four places at once. After all, it’s a privilege to shoot for one of the biggest and most important tennis tournaments in the world, and to meet and work alongside some of the world’s most talented photojournalists that I’ve admired for a long time.
As I’ve recently said quite a bit, I’m making a big push this year to improve my video skills, and this tournament was a fantastic experience in conceiving a concept, shooting it, then editing it sensibly and concisely under tight deadlines. Just from the past two weeks, I feel a lot more confident in my abilities as a video journalist, and I’m proud of most of the pieces I produced. My videos and photos also landed me some nice bylines, included in both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Finally, and most importantly, it was wonderful to re-connect with old friends and colleagues, and to meet so many new ones. Over my whole career, I’ve been extremely lucky to work for and learn from the best in the business, and the BNP Paribas Open was no exception. I owe a huge thanks to Matt Van Tuinen and Jeff Watson, the MVTPR stars and masterminds behind the BNPPO media operations, for giving me this opportunity and for breaking me into unfamiliar territory. Also, thanks to the rest of our team – Nick McCarvel, Pete Holtermann, Fred Sidhu, and Craig Gabriel – for their creativity, tennis expertise, and help throughout the tournament.
Last but not least, thanks to you all for reading! Sorry I cluttered your news feeds with posts over the past two weeks. I’m off to find some breakfast.
Things have finally settled down here at Fenway Park, so I’m using this opportunity to post some thoughts and reflections about my work this season. I said it last year, and I’ll say it again now: what could be better than a summer filled with two of my favorite things in this world, baseball and photography?
At the beginning of the season, I had to choose between coming to Boston or staying in Baltimore. It turned out to be quite a difficult decision, but after being here for just a few weeks, I knew I had made the right choice.
It was a busy summer. This year, the Boston Red Sox celebrated Fenway Park’s 100th Anniversary Season, which was incredible to be a part of. I documented dozens of anniversary events, player appearances, and community outreach programs, and was in the company of Red Sox legends past and present the whole way through. I was also on hand to photograph some exciting non baseball related events, including two Bruce Springsteen Concerts, two Liverpool FC professional football matches, and an appearance by Darth Vader,to name a few.
I also photographed approximately 40 games at Fenway. Rather than staying in the photo pits for most of the time, this year, I was a nomad. I roamed every corner of this old Park, hunting for good fan features and unique stadium elements. To be completely honest, it was frustrating. Struggling through hoards of fans doesn’t compare to sitting on field level documenting the action. But through it all, I’m absolutely confident that it has made me a much better photographer, and it trained my eye to see things that I wouldn’t have seen before. I’m thankful to have had that experience all year.
I was recently reassured of the importance of these types of photographs in Baltimore, where I was able to shoot the first Major League Baseball playoff games of my career. Although the Baltimore Orioles weren’t able to win the Division Series, being there to witness playoff baseball in my hometown quickly became one of my best baseball memories. A huge thank you to Todd Olszewski and the Orioles for having me back to shoot.
What matters most are the people who have made this year so enjoyable. I owe my most sincere thanks to Mike Ivins, the Manager of Photography, for giving me this opportunity, sharing his expertise with me, and telling me straight when I screwed up my flash (Beckett Bowl, ugh). I also owe thanks to all the other photographers, both of the Red Sox and of the Boston press, for their kindness and wisdom. I’m also lucky to be a part of a talented and hard working group of people in the Red Sox organization.
Here is my final portfolio from the season. Take a look if you’d like.
I’m happy to say that I’m staying on at the Red Sox as the Photography Assistant, and I’m working on my Master’s of Journalism at Boston University. Here’s to three seasons!
All images above Billie Weiss/AELTC ©2012.
It’s great to be back on the blog after a few weeks away. I’m currently in South London, where I just finished working as Photographer and Social Media editor for www.wimbledon.com at this year’s Championships Wimbledon. I was extremely lucky to have this opportunity, which came as a follow up after working as a photo editor for www.usopen.org at last year’s US Open in New York City.
I worked all thirteen days of this incredible tournament, shooting photographs of players on the practice courts, Wimbledon matches, visiting celebrities, fans, events, and features around the grounds. I wrote captions for thousands of photographs from wimbledon.com’s team of amazingly talented photographers, as well as built and published 27 galleries for the website. Additionally, I helped manage Wimbledon’s Facebook and Twitter accounts by publishing photos and galleries, responding to online comments and questions, and monitoring audience engagement and activity. In my free time (what free time?) I watched a lot of really good tennis.
Wimbledon is the most important tennis tournament in the world, so it was thrilling to be able to reach out to an audience of approximately one million Facebook fans and 300,000 Twitter followers. Working with such a huge audience, I learned how to effectively increase an online fan base, witnessed first hand how people react and interact on social media, and got a better feel for which types of content people want to see most.
It was definitely a grind over the last two weeks. It was long hours, long bus rides to and from the grounds, and long walks to the bus (complete with many terrifying encounters with some mangy looking foxes). It was being told every morning that my credential wasn’t good enough to get me into the press centre (even though it was). It was hours of sitting in the “bunker” and the same chicken, potatoes, and butternut squash dinner in the same cafeteria every night.
But it was also having access to shoot pictures of the best tennis players in the world. It was watching your photos get 5,000 “likes” on Facebook in one hour. It was exploring the pubs in Wimbledon Village. It was being on Centre Court to witness Roger Federer win his 17th grand slam, Serena Williams win her fifth Wimbledon singles title and her 13th doubles title alongside her sister Venus.
But most importantly, it was the people I met and worked with. It was an honor to work alongside a crew of talented and hardworking journalists, and I’m so happy to have made the connections I did.
Above is just a small sampling of the photo work I shot over the past two weeks. Click each photo to enlarge if you’d like. As always, thank you for reading!
Now, I’m off to Italy for some rest in the Mediterranean sun.
I’m here at the yard for the last day of my second year as a photographer for the Baltimore Orioles. What can I say? It was another amazing summer consumed by two of my favorite things in life: photography and baseball.
I did a lot this year. Since I got here in mid-June, I shot 30 home games. I also traveled with players to various community outreach events throughout Baltimore City and County. Many of my photographs were published in this year’s third edition of Orioles Magazine, as well as several Baltimore newspapers and community publications. I also worked tirelessly on the Orioles photography archives, which are in the ridiculously long process of being categorized and converted to digital format. Over these past several months, I scanned, in their entirety, the files of 60 players dating back to 1954. In total, I scanned over 4,000 images, but likely closer to 4,500. I also fulfilled image requests from other departments, local media outlets, and other teams throughout the league.
It’s a little bittersweet now that it’s over. I love every second of being out there on the field right where the action is, and for me, shooting the games never gets old. At the same time, though, this job is intense, and can be extremely time consuming. Needless to say, I’m excited for a bit of a break after lots of hard work. I also know that I won’t miss much action during the offseason (besides the annoying sound of the scanners next to my computer all day long.)
What I will miss, of course, are the people who make this such an incredible experience for me. I owe my most sincere thanks to Todd Olszewski, the team photographer, for calling me back this year, imparting his photo expertise on me, and constantly inspiring me with his work. I also owe thanks to all the photographers I work alongside at each game for making work such an enjoyable place to come to every day, and for their advice and wisdom about this profession.
I’m not quite sure what’s next, but I know something great will come up. Until then, here’s to two seasons!
This will be my final “Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College” post. I’ll stop boring you.
This photograph represents the countless hours and, particularly throughout my Junior and Senior year, regular all-nighters spent working in the library. It started with the Julia Rogers library and the infamous “Walk of Shame” – the long walk across campus at 3:30 in the morning in the cold winter rain after finalizing a twenty-page paper.
Halfway through the four years, the library moved to the Athenaeum, a much more convenient location. The workload increased however, and surviving on Snickers bars and Fritos from the vending machines in Julia Rogers changed to surviving on Caprese baguettes and Iced Athenaeum’s from Alice’s Restaraunt.
Those nights, and the lack of sleep in general, are elements of College that I won’t miss, but hard work pays off. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in my Communications and Media Studies major and a minor in Spanish Language. I’m also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Alpha Sigma academic and athletic honor societies. And, this year, I wrote a 76-page Senior honors thesis titled, “Sex, Censorship, and Student Journalism: What Two Newspaper Columns Reveal About the Student Press.”
What I will miss are the conversations and discussions that took place in classes, and I’m thankful to the professors who sparked my interest in so many different areas of study. It was always a joy listening to lectures about the changing landscape of journalism or the role of robots in science fiction films.
Finally, Goucher is unique in that professors become mentors and then subsequently become friends. I doubt there’s many other places where your Research Methods professor beats you 7-0 in basketball or your Spanish professor asks you to play tennis or your Communications professor buys you Chinese food. In my opinion, the prospect of forming these types of relationships is among the finest that Goucher has to offer.
My reflections about my time at Goucher College are not complete without some closing thoughts on The Quindecim, the institution that gave me a sense of purpose on campus and defined me professionally and personally.
After being voted Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper, I led an extensive revitalization of all aspects of the publication. These efforts transformed The Quindecim from an inconsistent and unprofessional newspaper to a reliable, recognizable, and revered institution on campus. You can read about what we set out to accomplish at the start of that process here.
We did a huge service to the Goucher community, one that unfortunately has been taken for granted and has gone largely unrewarded. You’ll get a sense of what I mean if you read here.
What I didn’t refer to much in those articles, though, is the impact The Q had on my life at Goucher, and subsequently, in the professional realm. I joined as a photographer at the start of my sophomore year, and despite quickly developed frustrations about the editorial leadership of the paper, I was shooting every day. I was now more than just a photography student in a class. I had deadlines to hit and events to cover. Knowing that my photographs would be seen by more than just one professor, I forced myself to do better work.
I was named Photography Editor soon after, and because Goucher is such a tight-knit community, I donned a “the kid with the camera at every event imaginable” type persona. It was this visibility that led to countless photo opportunities for the Office of Communications, The Quarterly, The Sports Information desk, the Dance and Music departments, Goucher Hillel, and other various student clubs. My newspaper portfolio was also good enough to land me my Photography internship with the Baltimore Orioles.
As I started reporting and writing more as well, my involvement grew and grew. Serving as Editor-In-Chief was the most grueling task of my college years, but was without a doubt also the most gratifying. I learned about ethics, tough decision making, working alongside others, organization, time management, attention to details, the risks of making mistakes, and recognition and lack of recognition for good work. These are lessons that reach far beyond a newsroom.
I view joining The Q as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As silly as it seems, those first photography assignments about bed bugs and campus housing shortages remain just as important to me as any assignment for a more well-known publication. Without those assignments, I never would have gotten to The Baltimore Sun or The New York Times. Those first photographs ignited a passion that I hope will turn into a career, and for that, I love The Q.
Some of the best experiences Goucher College made possible for me were ones that happened thousands of miles away. Given Goucher’s international sensibility and study abroad requirement, I had many opportunities for travel, both nationally and internationally.
To fulfill my requirement, I studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January 2010 for a four-week intensive Spanish language program. What a trip. Living with a wonderful host family during my stay there, I was immersed in Argentine culture and learned the value of living without some of the luxuries that are easy to take for granted back home. I also left with a group of close friends from around the United States.
In retrospect, I wish I had been able to go abroad for an entire semester. It would have been impossible to do without missing a tennis season, but had I stayed there for three or four months, I’m confident that I would have achieved fluency in Spanish. That still remains a goal of mine.
I also visited a good friend of mine in Germany, traveled to Poland and the Czech Republic, and participated in a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel this past January.
Finally, tennis team Spring break training trips took me to Virginia, North Carolina, and California, and I had many shorter visits to other parts of the country throughout the past four years.
There’s always lots of discussion about Goucher’s abroad requirements. There are certainly challenges to working around 1,400 plus students’ travel plans. In my view, though, this is one of the best things Goucher has going for it.
These pictures are downright boring, but I enjoy posting them as a record of my different living situations during my four years at Goucher College.
My first year, I lived with a roommate in the Sondheim residency. It was by far the nicest room I had. In fact, it was arguably the nicest room on campus, complete with a full bathroom, air conditioning, and a spacious walk in closet.
I never meshed very well into the community of students living in Sondheim though, so I moved out the next year and was lucky enough to obtain a room for myself as a sophomore. I’m an independent person, so living alone doesn’t bother me at all, and Lewis 200 was my palace. I loved it so much that I booked it again for my junior year.
There’s no air conditioning and the building that the room is in is absolutely cruddy, but that room was legendary and was home to some of my best college memories.
Finally, I lived with three of my closest friends in an on-campus apartment during my senior year. We had a blast, minus the mice that started keeping us company at the end of this year.
I’m currently halfway through my last week as a student at Goucher College, so naturally there’s been lots of time for reflection on my time spent here.
I’m overwhelmed when I think of all the different aspects of life that I and so many other students here juggled at once. So, while it’s impossible to comment on everything that I did over the past four years, I’m going to try and make some sense out of it all by posting about the most influential parts of my Goucher experience.
This is the first post in a series of several that will appear throughout this week. I usually don’t get too personal in my posts, but I won’t be able to help it for these. They’ll also likely be longer than usual, so don’t feel that you have to read all of my “thank you’s” and memories. They serve mostly as a permanent record for myself to look back on.
I came into Goucher a slick middle-infielder who had never played tennis as part of a team. I grew up on baseball and learned the many valuable lessons the game carries with it. Tennis was always an off-season activity I did to stay in shape, and up until several weeks prior to being accepted into Goucher, had no real intentions to continue playing at the college level.
I’m thankful that Goucher Athletics gave me the opportunity to do so. What started as a hobby quickly grew into a passion that brought me to tears as I walked off the court after my final match at Stevenson University several weeks ago.
I’m a competitive person by nature, so overall, I was disappointed with our play during my four years. As a team, we didn’t have one winning season, and as an individual, my record was far below .500.
It was incredibly frustrating at times, but in retrospect, wins and losses aren’t what I’ll take away from Goucher Tennis. What matters most is the irreplaceable leadership, friendship, and pride that builds within the program every year.
What leaves the strongest impression on me is the sheer number of hours participating at the NCAA level requires. It’s not just playing matches. It’s practicing, team meetings, fundraising, and traveling. It’s your afternoons, your sunrises, your late nights, your weekends, your Spring breaks, and your Summer vacations. Almost every day revolves around the hours alotted for tennis. It’s taught me about commitment, time management, and persistence, lessons that carry far beyond any tennis court.
Mentally, tennis is a tough game, and it just about always left me absolutely baffled. Baseball just seemed much simpler to me for reasons I can’t explain. But despite the losses, I had fun playing and I enjoyed the battle, and I’ll never lose sight of that. Goucher Tennis has given me irreplaceable memories and laughs. I’ll miss the shirtless practices on the first days of spring. I’ll miss the 6 a.m. team lifting, the 9 p.m. hit sessions, the pre-game speeches, the post-game speeches, the closet-sized locker room, the Goucher Football T-Shirt sales, the laser tag in Virginia Beach, the team dinners at the Steamy’s BBQ’s of the world, the bus rides home, and the sweet sound of the Victory Bell.
There are too many people to thank, but there are several that simply can’t go unrecognized.
Thank you to Geoff Miller, Director of Athletics at Goucher, for your dedication and enthusiasm in making athletics as vibrant a part of the Goucher community as it is, and for your personal guidance, particularly during my Senior year.
Thank you to Doug Mangi, Mike Simon, Chris Covey, Henning Jakob, and Michael Brooks, the Team Captains I played under, for being the guys I look up to. The impressions you’ve left on me are too big to put into words.
To Steve Baum and Dave Hemelt, my co-captains and “bros,” thank you for four years of friendship and many more to come. We’ll talk about it.
We Goucher Tennis people always refer to ourselves as “family,” so I posted this photograph that I took on self-timer two fall seasons ago rather than any action shot I have.
It’s full of family, mentors, leaders, and friends. That’s Goucher Tennis at its finest.
At the end of each year, I like to look back on the work that I’ve done and take some time to think about it all. This digital media whirlwind that us journalists live in can be so fast-paced that, at times, the process of thinking about or reflecting upon one’s work can easily fall by the wayside.
Here’s how the year went, briefly:
It began with graduate school applications, and the good news that I was accepted into some of the finest journalism Master’s programs out there. After much thought, I decided on Boston University, and simultaneously accepted a position on the photography staff of the Boston Red Sox. In March, I moved away from Baltimore for the first time in my life, and settled into Boston. I spent my summer documenting the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, and followed the Red Sox as I completed my third season working in Major League Baseball. In the middle of the season, I took several weeks off to work in London as a photographer, photo editor, and social media guy at The Championships Wimbledon. After a few days of rest and recuperation in sunny Southern Italy, I came back to the States, and several weeks later, continued my work on the pro tennis circuit, this time as a photographer and photo editor for the US Open Championships in New York City. Upon my return to Boston, coursework at BU began immediately, and I gradually got back into the rhythm of life as a student. In the midst of creating visual and written projects that told the stories of every day people in Boston, I also found myself photographing the President of the United States at a rally in New Hampshire, and photographing the almost President of the United States at his headquarters in Boston on election night. All the while, I was grateful for wonderful freelance opportunities, among them documenting the first Baltimore Orioles playoff appearance since 1997.
On this blog, the numbers continued to rise. Here are the statistics from my yearly blogging report:
“4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 45,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals. In 2012, there were 122 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 338 posts. There were 736pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2 GB. That’s about 2 pictures per day. The busiest day of the year was April 17th with 1,190views. The most popular post that day was Boston Red Sox Photography: Opening Day 2012.. Those page views came from 146 countries around the world. That’s double the amount of page views Billie With An I.E. had in 2011, so I’m very thankful for your readership.
2012 was a wonderful year for me, and given all that’s happened around the world this year, I’m extremely lucky to be able to say that. I love meeting people, and this year brought so many new friends, colleagues, professional contacts, and role models.
It’s also incredible to see how far other people have come this year. We’re at the age where we’re all beginning to do big things, and I can’t wait to see where we are a year from now.
Happy New Year! More to come in 2013.
I’ve been in New York City for the past week for my Photo Editor job at this year’s US Open. I have tons of work from the Open that I haven’t posted yet. I’m still collecting my thoughts about this incredible experience, so I’m going to hold off on posting them, and my work, until after the tournament is over.
I’m currently in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, more commonly known as the main branch of the New York Public Library. I’ve been spending lots of time here during the day, as I don’t work at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center until the evening.
This particular room is where I’ve gravitated to most often. It’s a pretty impressive space, and carries a different atmosphere than the library I’m most familiar with, the Athenaeum. People are actually quiet here. It’s strange.
Here is some footage I edited from a press conference at Ravens Training Camp on Monday. Head Coach John Harbaugh addressed concerns about several players who have already been plagued by injuries this year.
This is one in a series of many posts and updates leading up to the regular season. I’ll post my reflections on covering the Baltimore Ravens as the end of training camp approaches.