Josh Lim, a former Post staff member, always used to say: “There ain’t no rest for the journalist.”
It’s a reference to the popular Cage the Elephant song. But I found this especially true during my winter break, as I ended up working about as many days as I truly had off over break. And even then, I felt like I was busy.
But thankfully, my work is my passion and the more I’ve worked the day-in-and-day-out of photojournalism, I’ve found an old cliché to be fairly true.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
I decided to pursue my options to keep working over break not just for the money, but for the enjoyment I get out of producing work daily and seeing improvement in myself.
I came home on a Saturday evening and immediately got to see my dad’s side of the family, which was nice. I had the following day to get myself settled back in, then worked for two days at the Tribune-Review in the Pittsburgh area, where I interned this summer. My second day back, we had the first major snowfall in western Pennsylvania. Feature photos galore.
By mid-week, I was flying out to Seattle to visit my aunt, uncle, cousin and a few friends. I had two full days to spend with the family and see around, especially the parks and the famous Pike Place Market.
After that, it was off to Mt. Bachelor in Oregon to snowboard and shred for two days on the best powder I’ve ever experienced. It was wild.
I woke up crazy early that Tuesday, Dec. 20 to catch a flight out of a regional airport in Oregon. On the way back, I lucked out and got to enjoy the window seat on each of the three legs of my journey. I love the perspective of being above it all, and tried to capture that.
I got back into Pittsburgh around 8 p.m. that night and didn’t sleep a wink on the plane. I got my jetlagged self home, then woke up the next day and it was back to work for me.
I got to enjoy a handful of holiday season assignments. I remembered what it was like to be a kid, to be terrified of sitting on some stranger’s lap and to be “ho ho ho’d” at. But in other cases, it was fun to capture the joy in a kid’s eyes as they embrace the holiday spirit.
I also decided to look into the process of leatherwork and went to a shop that primarily produces belts.
Some days were slower than others, and us photographers would be tasked with going out and finding a standalone “feature” photo. On an unseasonably warm afternoon, I found some kids playing pickup basketball. After going climbing with a friend the night before, I found the idea to try a higher angle at the risk of hurting myself. It was nerve-wracking, but I stayed safe and made some cool frames.
Before I knew it, break was over. I guess that’s what happens when you spend a week in the Pacific Northwest and 14 days working. I still worry about the risk of entering this semester and burning out quickly, but I’m thankful that I got a little bit of everything. A chance to travel and experience the west coast and all it has to offer, a chance to work and be productive, but most importantly a chance to see family and share holiday memories together.