I came to The Ada Evening News (The Ada News since 2012) 30 years ago today, October 24, 1988. I documented the news photography angle on my teaching site (link), if you want to read it.
From a far more personal perspective, 1988 was a very dark, very lost, very complicated time for me.
I did a very poor job of recording the events of 1988 in my journal. It was an important time in my life, yet I committed very little real information to paper. I mostly couched everything in poetic terms, presuming I would remember the newsy details. I wish I have noted tangible events with bullet points, or even in the margins.
Fortunately, I actually did remember a number of details about that time, and have since committed it to paper.
I moved to Illinois to be with my girlfriend at the time, but within a month, she broke up (over the phone), and I realized I didn’t belong there, so I made an effort to move back to Oklahoma. I got a tip from Ed Blochowiak, the photographer with whom I partnered at the Shawnee News-Star (and who recently died) that Ada was looking for a photographer. I was hired over the phone by then-publisher Ron Vodenichar, and moved back to Oklahoma a week before I started in Ada.
Ron later told me I was one of the best hires he ever made.
1988 was probably the worst year of my life. Despite being grimly lonely, I did a good job as a news photographer from the very start. In some ways, doing the work of photojournalism saved me through giving me a purpose.
I spent most of my days and years alone, dating off and on without much success.
Amazingly, looking back on the entire 30 years, I realize that slightly more than half of that time was spent with Abby; we started dating in January 2003.
I have never ceased to appreciate everything our relationship gives me: esteem, confidence, companionship, purpose, and, of course, physical gratification. I am so very grateful she is my wife.
At one point, my sister Nicole asked me what my all-time favorite photo is, and though it is no simple task to sift the literally tens of thousands of images I have made during the last 30 years, I have to say it is this one of my wife Abby…