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|| News Item: Posted 2000-08-28

Not Going to Sydney...
A Fond Farewell to USA TODAY

By Anne Ryan

I'm sure a lot of people out there think I'm crazy

After ten years as the Chicago-based staff photographer for USA Today I officially resigned in July. It was an amicable resignation. I will still be doing a lot of freelance work for USA Today, but after my third child, Will, was born in December 1998 it was just too difficult for me to keep up with the demands of a full-time staff position.

I know that this year would have meant over 100 days of travel. There would have been four weeks in Sydney, various Olympic Trials, political conventions, profile stories on athletes plus anything else that comes along. I knew it was going to be too much for me and my family to handle. So a few months ago I told my supervisors I was planning to resign.

It was a difficult decision because I did like my job. I was also sure that this Olympics in Sydney would be awesome. My family, however, has always come first and I was starting to feel that my hectic travel schedule would be too much for all of us.

Working as a staff photographer for USA TODAY was incredible. I went to the Olympics four times, the Super Bowl eight times, numerous NCAA women's and men's championships and Final Fours, six Chicago Bulls NBA Championships, Hurricane Andrew, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, trips to Vietnam and Nicaragua and so much more.

I've hung out with Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Frank Thomas, Picabo Street, Cammi Granato Tara Lipinski, Studs Terkel and others too numerous to mention. I feel like I squeezed an entire career into ten years. I feel very satisfied with what I have accomplished and the experiences I have had. I am definitely not retiring, but I am slowing down a bit and my career is changing. I look forward to getting into some magazine work and some of my own creative personal work.

It took awhile to make the transition to freelance photographer. First we sold our house which we had finally finished rehabbing and bought another 100 year old Victorian house in need of a rehab in a cheaper neighborhood. So, here we go again! Now I'm basically a full-time mom (mini van and all), freelance photographer and general contractor rolled into one. I'll probably be able to do my own PBS home improvements show by the time this rehab is over.

My husband, freelance photographer John Zich, and I are officially incorporating as ZRIMAGES.

Watch for, which should be up in a couple of months. I guess I'm as busy as ever, but at least I'm home and that's where I want to be.

I wish my replacement, Jack Gruber, the best of luck and I hope he enjoys the job as much as I did. Also, my Sports Shooter duties will be changing. I will no longer write the "On the Sidelines" column am going to start contributing regular feature stories instead. Bert Hanashiro and I will put together "On the Sidelines" as a brief section of news and notes. (Please keep sending your news.)

I think that most of all I will miss the friends I have made in all parts of the world. I will miss seeing all of you out there. I appreciate you indulging me by listening to endless stories and looking at pictures of my children. You helped me make the separation bearable. Your friendship has meant and always will mean a lot to me.

(Anne Ryan is a freelance photographer based in Chicago where she lives with sons Pete, Andy and Will and her husband John Zich. John is also a freelance photographer.)

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