I’m the person you may have seen running around campus with a camera or patrolling the sidelines at a sporting event. What you see is often what I see through the campus. A different view of an event you have attended, a story written without words. Seen but not read, if you will. That’s my job; that’s been my job for the past three and a half years on the Houstonian. After serving for so long as photo editor, I’m stepping aside.
This job has given me opportunities I may not have otherwise had. I’ve traveled on occasion for Houstonian business and Houstonian “business”. I got to experience Washington D.C in fall 2000 when the staff went there for a convention. I went to Shreveport when the basketball team was in the Southland Conference tournament in 2000 and 2001. I went to Lafayette in 2000 when the football team won their first game against a Division I school. It was during a heat wave when the temperature peaked over 105. The sports editor and editor-in-chief stayed cool in the press box and I sweltered on the sideline when not being yelled at by drunken Ragin’ Cajuns fans. Also, the A/C in the motel room didn’t work.
I got to travel to Montana with the football team when they were in the NCAA playoffs in 2001. About that trip, it was an unusual change of scenery for me. It was lightly snowing when I arrived there and I never had experienced fresh snow before. The surrounding land was beautiful with its mountainside forests and the river that ran behind the hotel. I also learned that I have trouble walking on icy sidewalks. I fell twice just crossing the street to go to Burger King.
Most recent was the trip to Tampa for the basketball team’s appearance in the NCAA tournament. It was a thousand mile road trip to Tampa and it was driven non-stop. I didn’t get to see the beach but I got to see a combination liquor store and pharmacy. Besides traveling, I’ve been able to make connections with the Huntsville Item, build a portfolio, and make just enough money to keep my checks from bouncing.
Luckily, I’ve been able to stay out of harms way while on the job. I haven’t been beaned by a foul ball, hit by a basketball, or thrown out of a game. However, I have been run over by a free safety, been inches from a very angry possum, and called “The damnedest photographer I ever saw” by former baseball coach John Skeeters. I’m still not exactly sure what he meant by that.
Much has changed since I started this job. There’s a new university President, the LSC has been renovated, AB4 built on the site of the old Departmental complex, 5 different editors-in-chief, 3 different advisers, and different newspaper designs. I myself have changed over that time. I sported a military-grade flattop for a long time, then I grew it out into a bushy mess of hair and then compromised somewhere in the middle. I didn’t drive at first and now I do. I survived through crippling depression. I learned to play guitar. In fact, playing guitar is what I’d rather be doing at any given moment. Most of all, I’ve become a regular in the weight room. Since last January, I’ve lost over 90 pounds. I look at my drivers license and student ID and it’s hard to believe that was me. Now nothing fits and I have to get new clothes. Hey, it could be worse.
What will I do now? I’m sure there’s a good chance you’ll see some more of my photos in the Houstonian. Besides that, I’ll just concentrate on running my eBay store (www.stores.ebay.com/deansblacklistshirts), hustling some freelance work, playing guitar, and hitting the weights. I wish the incoming staff good luck and also want to thank the numerous people with whom I’ve worked.