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It’s Hard Out Here for a Photog: Shawn Inglima’s Senior Column

Occasionally I receive the comment that being a photographer is the easiest job in the world — that all we do is point, click, and upload. C’mon, this isn’t fucking Instagram. Now as much as I would want to believe other people’s assumptions of my profession to be, in fact, true, I am here to state in my last Onward State article that it is not. Not. One. Bit.

“Oh you just point and click right? Don’t you just upload them and that’s it?”

I wish.

The one thing I have learned at this university, especially from this past year alone, is that this job isn’t easy. It’s very time consuming, stressful and tiresome. I need to dedicate hours to just editing my photos, I am constantly stressed about not getting hired for gigs and hoping employers don’t realize that they can produce their own photographs by buying their own camera, and I pile on the workload to the point where my all-nighters occur regularly.  So much had happened this year and I spent my senior year documenting all of it.

We all can admire a photograph but rarely does anyone understand the trouble the photographer has to go through to get it. For my View From Above articles, I added a description of how I got the top of the roofs after friends telling me that they thought I just walked up a flight of stairs and opened a door. But imagine me, a tiny white girl, carrying about 50 pounds of equipment just to get one photo to “just upload.” Yes, 50 pounds of camera equipment. And I bring all of that with me everywhere, into the face of chaos, because I know you won’t.

“Oh did you bring your camera?” Fuck you. That shit is heavy and I take advantage of whenever I can just leave it home. But honestly, I don’t regret carrying my camera to every class throughout the day because at some point, I do use it. Oh there’s a concert in the HUB that needs a photographer? Booyah, got my camera in my bag!

It’s a benefactor on my part for having insomnia with all the late nights editing photos in 6 Carnegie photo lab instead out having a life. Oh how I’m going to miss all those late nights in the photo lab editing the night away with my dear friend Mr. PhotoShop while my friends are texting me to come out to the bars because they never see me. Not. And staying at an event all night and then having to upload the images to meet the morning deadline just adds to my insomnia and lack of a social life.

But as I bitch about people undermining my profession, my lack of sleep and lack of a social life, I wouldn’t live my life any other way. From this past year alone, I have shot at memorable events, met interesting people and had the time of my life.

I have witnessed the downfall of a university and watched the start of the rebuilding. I stayed awake for over 60 hours during THON weekend and don’t regret a minute of it, even though I felt like an overly exhausted drunk.

But as my senior year comes to an end, looking back at my last year at Penn State, despite all the tears and negativity, I don’t want to leave. I’m going to miss going to concerts for free and acting like an obnoxious dick backstage, checking out unlimited camera equipment like a kid in a candy shop, but I’ll especially miss this place that I call home.

And as I venture off into the big world — well back to my small hometown in New Jersey — to further pursue this career choice of mine, I will continue to never sleep.

Point and click my ass.

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About the Author

Shawn Inglima

Penn State Alumni with a degree in Journalism and English. Currently an intern at the New York Daily News.

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