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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2007-09-24

Intern Diaries: PopPhoto.com
'Unlike a newspaper photography internship, the majority of my time was spent in the office, working on features…'

By Zach Honig, PopPhoto.com

Photo by Zach Honig / PopPhoto.com

Photo by Zach Honig / PopPhoto.com

The Statue of Liberty, framed by a dinner cruise boat as seen from the New York Bay at sunset on July 10, 2007. This image was captured using a Canon PowerShot S5 IS EVF camera.
(Editor's note: At the end of each summer, it has been a tradition at the Sports Shooter Newsletter to have several students share their experiences working at an internship.)

If you've passed through Times Square as a tourist, you've probably been approached several times over the course of a few blocks. "Hey - do you like comedy?" I've had people try to sell me show tickets, preach religion, even offer a sample of the latest toothpaste. It's easy to pick out the tourists - they're dressed somewhat casually, and usually have a point and shoot camera in hand or around their neck. I spent the summer living in New York, but I fit this demographic a handful of times. "No - I haaaaate comedy!"

I've worked as a daily newspaper photographer, photo editor, and even reporter - but I've always been a HUGE gear-head. From testing out the latest digicams to editing reviews from freelancers, as an intern at PopPhoto.com, the online home of Popular Photography & Imaging and American Photo magazines, I had countless opportunities to try new things.

I spent a lot of time out of my cubicle, learning the certified camera test procedures in Pop Photo's $1M+ testing lab, and going out in the city to fire off shots with the latest imaging toys. I've done the tourist thing countless times - strolling through Central Park, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, cruising around the Statue of Liberty (on an Epson-sponsored dinner cruise - yeah - there are a few perks), and of course Times Square, with everything from a Casio point and shoot to a Leica M8 around my neck.

I had many opportunities to do some very cool things over the summer, like going for a ride in a blimp and coming home with a bag full of swag from a media event. I've shot the ribbon cuttings and restaurant reviews, this was a welcome change of pace.

Unlike a newspaper photography internship, the majority of my time was spent in the office, working on features and learning about the production process on the 43rd floor of a Times Square skyscraper. At times I felt like I was working at Initech, with Lumbergh just around the corner searching for a colleague's TPS report, but unlike the programmers in "Office Space," I really loved my job.

It wasn't easy living in New York and working as an unpaid intern. After work each day, I'd have to go to work. At 5 p.m., I'd walk down to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, where I worked 30 hours a week as a Mac Specialist, selling computers and iPhones until 2 in the morning on occasion. I'd make it to bed by 3:30, then back to the office by 10:30 the next morning. I was exhausted almost every day, so if you have to take an unpaid internship, I'd suggest doing everything possible to avoid working a second job if you want to get the most out of your experience. I was living in the city with 20 friends from school, yet I rarely saw them outside of class (yeah - I was taking a journalism class as well).

Despite my exhaustion, I worked my butt off at the internship, and ended up landing a job. Now I'm back at school in Columbia, Mo., but working part time for the web site, editing the buying guide, monitoring user reviews, and writing gear reviews and feature stories. When I came to school as a freshman a little over three years ago, I never saw myself doing anything but photography full time, but now I'm writing and editing and loving every second of it.

I made a lot of great friends over the summer. I want to thank Online Technology Editor (and SportsShooter.com member) Jack Howard, for helping me land the internship, training me on testing procedures, editing my reviews, and giving plenty of feedback along the way. Thanks also to Executive Editor, Electronics, Jay DeFoore, who offered guidance and ultimately a job, and Julia Silber, Michael McNamara, and Russell Hart who offered their infinite knowledge and wisdom throughout the summer. It's very humbling to work with such knowledgeable and experienced editors and photographers - there's still so much to be learned.


(Zach Honig is currently a senior at the University of Missouri. You can see a sample of his work on this SportsShooter.com member page at: http://www.sportsshooter.com/zach.)

Related Links:
Zach's member page

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