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|| News Item: Posted 2013-01-11

Remembering 2012 - Trent Nelson
Hell yes!

By Trent Nelson

Had a guy come up to me at a football game this fall. He had shiny new gear, in contrast to my battle-worn kit. He was obviously a weekend shooter who worked at a "real" job during the week and only shot on weekends. And I don't say any of this to look down on him. He was getting paid and things are dicey for photographers of all stripes. We're in this together. He asked me, "If you could go back, would you decide to become a photographer again?" An interesting question, something that I hadn't directly asked myself before. I fell into deep thought about it. My eventual response was, "Ask me next year." And what I meant by that was that the uncertainty of the future (a paid future) was the worst part of modern day photojournalism for me.

But I couldn't get the question out of my mind. I thought about it for weeks. My initial answer seemed like a dodge. What did I really think? If I could go back would I choose this path again?

Later I was flipping through old photos in a Lightroom gallery, yet again organizing my archives. Somebody please make me stop doing that! Photo after photo flashed on the screen and I relived one great memory after another. I was getting high from all that I had witnessed and experienced. Now the true answer to the guy's question was obvious.

Hell yes I would do it again. No question at all. Say it in All-Caps: HELL YES!

I mean, I was so sure about it that I could type: No. Question. At. All. And not feel silly.

I would do it again, no matter what the future holds for me. I have lived more and witnessed more (thought certainly not spent more) than just about anyone else I know. It's rad.

In the past we all had boxes of prints stashed around our offices and darkrooms. And anytime you felt a little goth-y or emo (or depressed for my fellow old-timers), all you had to do was pull out a stack of prints and start looking through them. It would always get you fired up again. It still works for me, twenty-four years into my career.

We are all a part of the greatest profession that I know of. What else comes close? Rock stars and fashion models don't age well and there are only a dozen or so positions for U.S. astronauts, so photography wins. Best job ever.

And photography keeps getting better and better. Some of the best work of all time was created in 2012, from war-torn Syria to Small-town, USA. Billion dollar companies like Facebook, Google and Instagram and Tumblr and Pinterest have been built on our backs. Pretty cool stuff!

As you go into 2013, I wish you all the best. Keep creating and sharing your vision. And if you come across a cloudy day where you're questioning your choices, remember that you're not alone. We all have those days where we doubt ourselves. So open up a set of photos you took back in the past and relive the good times. If Brad Mangin's photos from Fremont, California in the 1980s can cheer me up, you're sure to be lifted up by whatever is sitting on your hard drive.

Trent Nelson is a staff photographer at the Salt Lake Tribune and a frequent contributor to the Sports Shooter Newsletter. You can see examples of Trent’s work at his member page:

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