‘Damn The Torpedoes,’ I guess


‘Damn The Torpedoes,’ I guess


I may be leaving the Chronicle, but The Chronicle will never leave me.

I don’t often think about the present or the recent past, but I have found myself doing that more and more. Like my fellow “goodbye column” writers, I am in a scary transition. There is no instruction manual or AP Stylebook to look up how we should feel or what we should be doing. But in the words of my hero Tom Petty, “That’s the way it goes, it’ll all work out.” And I genuinely do believe that. We will be fine, guys—right?

When I transferred to Columbia in fall 2016, I sent an email to General Manager Chris Richert about possibly working at The Chronicle as a photographer even though there were no open spots. I met with him a few times in the first weeks, he looked at my work and told me that I could be on the freelancer list. Nothing really came of it, but that was my in. Later in the semester, I got an email from the then-Editor-In-Chief Megan Bennett about an open position in the spring of 2017. Fast forward to the next semester, I was in, and I’m thankful for Chris putting up with me waiting by the front door to talk to him the semester before.

My experience at the Chronicle was life-changing. I worked in the field I was studying and got the experience of truly working as a team, but most importantly, I met a lot of great people that I will never forget. I’ve met some of my best friends at The Chronicle.

The Chronicle was the place for me to grow, make mistakes and learn from most of them—there’s still some I’m working on. This place was my education. Sure, I’ve taken all the required journalism and photo classes, but nothing prepares you for the real world like the real world. The value of this place is undeniable. So many of those who have walked through the French front doors on the second floor of 33 E. Congress Parkway have done incredible things. It’s hard for me to believe that the skilled people I’ve worked side-by-side with over my year and a half at this place aren’t going to do the same and get a shout-out in some future “goodbye column.”

My time at The Chronicle will always be an integral part of my life. It may not have been as long as my fellow column writers, but it’s still a significant time for me. Being a photojournalist in the city of Chicago is a rare experience. You see the same people all the time and it’s a small but tight knit community where everyone looks out for each other.

Lastly, I do want to give thanks to my co-conspirator and accomplice Mackenzie Crosson. Thanks for being crazy enough to even consider spending 24 hours in a diner with me. I still remember your reaction when that same catchy phrase came out of me. It’s undeniably my life’s best work so far, and it wouldn’t have been possible without you. Thanks for pushing me further than what I thought my capabilities were, for not letting me give up and for being one of the best friends I will ever have. We may be at each other’s throats sometimes, but I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator and friend.

Endings and goodbyes are always hard for me and that’s why every mention of the “goodbye column” in this piece was in quotation marks. True goodbyes are few and far between but a “peace out” is more my speed.