Ryan’s Homecoming

The political attention of the nation is once again upon Wisconsin. Even though Paul Ryan has been at the center of various national debates over the years, his vice presidential nomination is on a much bigger scale.

Covering his speech today—or as the Romney campaign titled it, “Paul Ryan’s Convention Send-Off Rally”—in Janesville was a little weird.

The entire event was set up to feel like a high school homecoming pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, pep band, “Craig” the cougar, “homemade” signs and a high school gymnasium. All these things just made me feel old. It also felt like the campaign organizers were trying a little too hard. I know everyone wants to appear “grass roots,” but at this point, whoever thinks a “grass roots” movement is going to get someone elected is sadly mistaken. Obama’s campaign organizers will likely attempt the same feeling and fanfare. Although the entire gymnasium was full of Americana and Wisconsin stereotypes, so wandering around before the speech was relatively entertaining.

Anyways, moving on.

Like Paul Ryan, I was also doing a homecoming of sorts. This was my first time shooting in Janesville since my internship ended there last November. It was good to see some familiar faces and get lost one more time on the weird one-way streets of Janesville. I imagine it will be a while before I return there, now that I am headed to the Green Bay Press Gazette to begin my job as one of their staff photographers. (Future warning: This blog is likely to contain an influx of Packers related photos in the coming weeks…)

Today was also (likely) one of my last shoots for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, where I have interned since January. Working at the Center these last eight months has been an excellent experience. Investigative reporting is an entirely different way of approaching journalism, and I think my involvement with the Center really helped push my storytelling and reporting abilities as a photographer. It also served as a great way to get my name out to a number of different state and national media outlets—by my last count, my photos were published in over 30 different media outlets in Wisconsin alone. Cool stuff.

I am incredibly excited to be joining the staff of the Green Bay Press Gazette beginning in September. I’ve admired their photography for years and I’m looking forward to the other photographers pushing me to keep growing and getting better.

I’ll still be maintaining this photo blog, so stay tuned for my new work from Green Bay.

Thanks for looking!

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