The Day I Decided to Become a Photojournalist

AFGHANISTAN — Courtesy of Larry Towell, Magnum Photos

When I was in the midst of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I was sitting in a university global studies lecture at Wilfrid Laurier University. My professor, said we would be having a guest speaker. I had no idea who he was at the time but it was the one and only, eccentrically intelligent, Larry Towell. It would later become known to me that Towell is one of the more famous Magnum Photographers.

Because we were a global studies class, Towell mainly showed us his work that he did in Afghanistan. To sum it up, it was inspiring. Not only were the photos amazing but they told hundreds and hundreds of stories. Stories of the old, the young, and everyone in between. Stories that people in North America would never know about if it weren’t for Towell. If there is one thing that connects this world, it is the stories of others. The story telling medium of photojournalism is really what drew me to the art.

I always knew I wanted to do something with photography but it wasn’t until this moment that I knew I wanted to be a photojournalist and that’s how I made it to the Loyalist College Photojournalism program. Something about Towell’s work captures the essence of his subjects. He tells their stories. This is what I want to do. I want to connect people from all over by representing stories through photographs. There is a sense of danger in Towell’s work that also intrigues me. His work on Mennonites is extraordinary and it is these long term projects what really set him apart from other photographers.

In my photojournalistic career I can only hope to take as remarkable of photographs as Larry Towell and I can only hope to be fortunate enough to tell as compelling of stories as he does.

— Lori