Alone and Never Lonely

Empty room,
I’m empty too
because try as I might
I can’t un-see
your face
painted on these
empty walls.
And the emptiness is echoing
and hollowing
the memories I used to reminisce over
that are hovering
hanging precariously
off of
empty thoughts.
The emptiness of your eyes
comes back to me
in pieces,
slowly at first
and then lighting-fast,
as I am pulled back
into the emptiness of your words
when you told me
pretty lies
tainted with
malevolent intention.


Who Inspires Me?

Who inspires me as a photojournalist?

Everyone else in my class will be talking about famous news anchors and freelance writers I’m sure they religiously follow. I debated doing the same thing myself until I realized I genuinely don’t care too much about any news anchors or freelance writers. I follow travel bloggers and photographers more religiously than i do anything else (besides, I would be able to even name a news anchor or reporter if my life depended on it… Sorry Rob).

So I’m going to talk about my favourite photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz revolutionized photography at the turn of the century; he used his photos to make a social and economic statement (including the photo I’ve included in this article, entitled The Steerage). He showed people the world they lived in through blunt and new eyes, and that’s what I admire so much about him.

Not only that, but he proved photography was still an art even when society at the time (in the mid-twenties) was beginning to believe that the camera did all the work. To show those people they were wrong, Stieglitz took a series of photos of clouds – just clouds – and still used lighting and camera techniques to make the image stunning.

His photos also told stories. He is known very famously for taking portraits of his wife, and my favourite painter, Gerogia O’Keefe. What made the images of her so interesting to audiences is the fact she always looked like she was hiding something, or had a secret to tell. Like I said, his photos told his audience stories, and they made people curious as to the person or background that was involved in his photography.

There are several other photojournalists working for National Geographic that I admire, but Alfred Stieglitz takes the cake and holds a special place in my heart as my favourite photographer. I’ve done several projects on him back in high school, and I even experimented with taking photography in accordance to his style. I’m sad to say I don’t believe I did him any justice, but I’m always up for the challenge of trying again.

I think the biggest reason I admire Stieglitz so much is because he changed the world of photojournalism while he was alive. He took these photographs with the intent of telling a story without even realizing that one day it would be referred to as photojournalism and that he would have inspired millions of young photojournalists like myself. While many photographers of his era were trying to capture a moment in time, Stieglitz was trying to capture an emotion, or make a political statement, or show people the economy they lived in with a clear division. And the most amazing thing is that he did all of this lacking the technology we have today in the 21st century, and his photos are still some of the greatest photos ever taken.

Link to a gallery to view more of his photos for anyone interested:

Mission Statement – Journalism

I am going to be a photojournalist who travels the world.

To rephrase this, I am going to do the only three things I am completely and wholly passionate about: travel, write and take photographs. That’s all I really want to do with my life, especially travel. I would hate more than anything else in the world to be stuck behind a desk in a newsroom for any amount of time, no matter how short. I am not the kind of person who functions well behind a desk unless I want to be there, and believe me, I won’t want to be there at all unless I’m either writing fiction or writing about travelling.

To me, my life is divided into two different times: times when I am travelling and exploring, and times when I’m writing about how much I want to travel and explore. I’m currently doing the latter, and while I’m perfectly fine with doing that occasionally, I would rather be climbing Mount Yamnuska in the Rocky Mountains while writing down everything I see in a handheld journal and snapping photographs on my Nikon D90 than sitting here writing about it on the other end of the country behind the screen of a computer.

The reason I decided to take this Trent-Loyalist JOPB (Journalism Online Print and Broadcast) course is because I knew that realistically it would be a lot easier for me to leave post-secondary school with both a diploma and a degree. If the world worked the way it does in my idealist mind, I wouldn’t have bothered going to post-secondary school at all; I would have just packed my backpack and camera and hopped on a plane and said, “See you never!” to all responsibilities as I jetted off to Thailand to live with any family loving enough to take me in for six months.

But since the world doesn’t work like that, I decided to take a course that I knew would look good on a resume that would allow me to get a job that pays me good money in order to do essentially the exact same thing.

So how am I going to get there? I’m a firm believer in “Don’t worry, it will just happen” because I know that’s exactly the case. It is going to happen to me one day not too long after I graduate, it is only a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’. But like every reasonable 20-year-old with half an idea of what she wants to do with her life, I decided to create a plan.

i’ve already begun building my portfolio. I started from a young age with photographing wildlife at my cottage in ways that told a story. Why is that deer looking at me and licking her lips? How come the sky is that particular shade of blue and what does that tell me about the seasonal storms in Southern Ontario? Then when I travelled to Alberta over the summer, I continued with this, taking photos from mountaintops and the side of canoes, in order to expand my portfolio. I did the same thing last year in Costa Rica, and I’ll be doing the same thing in 2016 in South Asia.

I also, as I already mentioned, decided to take my journalism course. That was probably the most difficult thing for me to do considering I hate reporting and sitting behind a desk. But I also learned a lot of helpful skills that will assist me in my next step (which I will talk about soon). For example, I learned how to operate a television camera, and I found I really enjoyed it. This prompted me to ask around until I found a young man working outside of Scarborough as a cinematographer that travels the globe making environmental and anthropological documentaries with different film crews. Now that’s a job I would adore more than anything.

So I did what anyone would do in my situation: I asked if I could intern with him next year.

Following my internship, I’ve planned to go road tripping across North America with my brother the year we graduate, where I will further practise my photojournalism skills on the road. After that, I’m going to be working with an organization called Au Pair to work as a nanny in as many different countries as I can for a year or two before trying to get a job working with social media and promotion for a company called Edventure International – the company I went to Costa Rica with and will be going to Asia with. I already have ties to the company’s CEO, and have used her as a reference for many jobs, so I’m feeling fairly confident about landing a job there when I’m in my mid-twenties.

Once I have all this experience under my belt with travel and photography and social media, as well as a degree and diploma in journalism and media studies, I think I’ll be able to land my dream job at National Geographic in a decade or so. And even if I’m not able to do this, it sounds like a hell of a path even just trying to me, and i’m really excited to get started on it.

Passionate About Journalism (?)

Tara Henley

What makes me passionate about journalism?

Truthfully, nothing. I’m not passionate about the job description as a whole and the concept of working in a newsroom for the rest of my life – or any day of it –scares the hell out of me. I am passionate about certain aspects of journalism however. For example, I love to write and do research on almost any subject. I like being able to get people’s personal stories and experiences. Unfortunately, that’s about it. My social anxiety often prevents me from talking to people, and when I do talk to them I am too nervous to properly pay attention to what they say half the time. I don’t think it is a skill that can be developed for me considering I’ve gone twenty years of my life trying to develop that skill and it’s still painful.

What branch of journalism am I passionate about?

Photojournalism and travelogue. I’ve always loved photography and I am a huge believer of the phrase “A picture has a thousand words”. I’ve always tried to tell stories through my photographs, even before I knew that I could study it in school or make a career out of it. As for travelogues, I love to read them almost as much as I love to write them. My one truly great passion in this life is travelling. I don’t mean travelling as in “I went to Jamaica and stayed on the resort the whole time and it was cool”; I mean the type of travelling that can only be described as exploring the unknown, dirty and beautiful parts of the globe (I’m getting excited just thinking about it). Wherever I go, I keep a journal of everything I see and I collect photos and plants and rocks and anything else unique that I might happen to find. It is my favourite thing to do in my life, and I’d do it non-stop every day in a heartbeat if I could. I want to hopefully do my internship next year with a man I know who works as a cinematographer and travels the globe making documentaries about the different geographical areas. To me, that would be an amazing and ideal career.

Beating the Back to School Blues

It’s that time of year again. Every student’s worst nightmare and every parent’s wet dream.

That’s right: back to school.

Before you moan, “Oh no, not another article on how I can get out of this miserable pit of despair that I see no end to” maybe you should hear me out. After all, I am a student too, and I actually know some tips that you may find useful.

First, set yourself a schedule (I know, it sounds lame, but trust me). By setting yourself a schedule, you’ll not only be able to see what days you have to actually work (boo) and what days you have off (yay) but you can work around other important events, and plan ahead for days you can have fun. Seeing this schedule every day will help remind you that exciting days are on the horizon, and it will also hopefully remind you that the weekend is never as far away as it seems.

Next, make plans with your friends to hang out, like, all the time. Even if it’s just to be together as a study group in the library as you all shove as much coffee in your systems as you can handle, do it. We often forget how important our friendships are when it’s the start of the school year and everyone’s busy wrapped up in their own school schedules, so maintaining these friendships is a great way to remember that you don’t have to suffer alone.

Make sure you have lots of good food. Notice I said GOOD food and not JUNK food. Finding a balance between what’s tasty and what is healthy is a bit hard I’ll admit, but DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE TEMPTATION OF ADDING ONTO YOUR FRESHMAN FIFTEEN! I cannot emphasize how difficult it will be to work off those extra pizza slices if you don’t show some restraint. There are tons and tons of healthy recipes for college students that you can definitely do on a budget, so no excuses.

Create a workout schedule to help not only keep yourself busy, but happier and healthier as well. If your school has any activities (such as yoga Tuesdays or pickup soccer Fridays) then it would be a great idea to take advantage of this. If there’s a gym at your school, get a membership – they’re usually free, and most places offer personal trainers or assistance with the equipment.

Also, don’t forget to make time for yourself. Whether it’s watching Supernatural for three hours in your bed on your phone (me) or having a nice, long bath after a stressful first day (also me), you should try to make a bit of time for doing whatever you enjoy, for at least one hour every day.

So that’s my advice for now. Keep your heads up everybody; we can get through this. Remember: only five more weeks until reading week.