Instead of just a paragraph, here's a collection of images to help you better understand where I've been, where I'm going, and the heart behind my work. (Photo by Maggie Snoke)
For starters, I grew up in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Carrie Aaron)
Next, meet my sweet mama. Besides the gift of life, she has given me the gift of understanding the power of nutrition. Some of my earliest memories are of helping her make cold-pressed green juice on a stool. I was graciously allowed a period of rebellion, and quickly realized the source of my new illnesses. (Photo by Ken Cooke)
Now meet the two lovely people who opened the doors to photojournalism for me. I first attended a pre-college program led by Mary Calvert (right) in high school. When she learned I lived in Raleigh, she insisted I connect with her mentor, Ken Cooke (left). He brought me into the newsroom at the Raleigh News & Observer and I showed my silly portfolio to the photo editors. A month later, I began a six-month internship there at the ripe age of seventeen. (Photo by Carrie Aaron)
I graduated a semester early from high school for the internship. I was a 'mini gap year' of sorts, and life-changing to say the least. (Photo by Ethan Hyman)
Then I began college at UNC-Asheville in the fall to pursue a degree in environmental studies. I wanted to build a foundation for a career in environmental reporting.
After my first year, I spent a summer interning at the Post & Courier in Charleston, SC. It was a whirlwind summer of growth and love.
I returned for another year at UNC-Asheville, then transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill to join the photojournalism program. The change was bittersweet but well worth the heartache. It was an honor to have the opportunity to thrive in such a supportive and competitive environment.
The summer between my two years in the program I received the Rich Beckman Documentary Award to produce a five-part series about food insecurity across North Carolina. (Photo by Erik Sullivan)
Although I returned for another semester in the fall of 2016, I graduated in May alongside my mom. She earned her bachelor's degree in English with a 3.9 GPA at age 52 after suffering a traumatic brain injury. She is my rock and greatest inspiration.
The summer of 2016, I interned at Kertis Creative in Lousiville, KY. It's a small video production company that specializes in documentary video storytelling for a range of clients, from non-profit to commercial. It opened my heart to the power of collaboration. I never want to work alone again! (Photo by Jessica George)
Since I started on my path in photojournalism, my strong interests in both nutrition and conservation have led me toward stories about sustainable agriculture. I've found them to be unique opportunities to talk about deeper social issues in subtle ways. Here I am on my first assignment as an intern for the NC Department of Agriculture in the fall of 2016.
In April of 2017, I started as a staff photojournalist at the Herald-Sun in Durham, NC. It was a dream. I did some serious growing up, being the only video producer in the newsroom and covering all major stories, and not to mention a Confederate statue came down on my watch.
In January 2018, I joined the staff at the News & Observer. This here is Julia Wall, after our assignment together covering the eclipse. We've cooking up good ideas together already. Stay tuned.
I hope you enjoyed this! Please feel free to reach out. I'd love to get to know you too. (Photo by Bradley Schwarz)