Brand New by Emily Elconin

It’s been almost a month since I started my new job with The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia. At first, I was nervous to move to a completely new city. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Flooded with emotions and excitement, I decided to embrace this new opportunity with everything I have in me.

All I have wanted to do for the past six months was create on a daily basis - continuously seeking unfolding moments to capture. And now, that is exactly what I get to do. I can’t quite put the feeling into words, but nothing has ever felt more aligned with my life’s purpose. For me, photography is about human connection. My camera allows me the opportunity to learn and understand my surroundings in ways I never thought were possible. 

My favorite challenge is being able to make something out of absolutely anything. My job so far has challenged me to learn how to create and capture in any given circumstance. One of the key components in achieving this is simply faith in my ability.  For me, taking a moment to rid myself of any expectations of the situation I am walking into eases my nerves and allows me to just be present in that moment. My favorite moments are the ones where I surprise myself - sometimes in disbelief that I was actually able to capture something I envisioned in my mind. When I am observing these moments unfolding in front of me, I wait for each element to fall into place - the light, the moment, the composition, the distance - until it’s the right time to click the shutter. This is the power of letting moments come to fruition. It’s about simply noticing, observing, anticipating, and waiting. This is something my professor, Mike Davis from Syracuse, taught me last year during one of my many office hours visits. It has resonated with my approach to photography ever since. 

I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from my first month working at the newspaper. I’ve already had the opportunity to photograph such a wide range of stories which makes me even more excited for what’s to come. I wanted to put something together that encapsulates my first month. It’s important for me to take a moment to step back and observe my journey, and how far I have come. I have learned is that reflection can be a powerful tool.