Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Life behind the camera and the lessons taught for when no one is watching

Dear everyone who reads or looks at The Crimson White,

My name is Drew Hoover and this is undoubtedly the first and last article of mine to appear in the CW that you will ever read and/or ignore. For three of my undergraduate years, I have taken photos for the CW, and this experience has enriched my time at UA more than any academic program. I have talked to and taken pictures of a lot of you, and thankfully, none of you has ever successfully punched me.

Now I am a senior, and that means I get to bestow my wisdom on you, even if my only credibility comes from surviving four years of undergraduate ‘studies.’ Since this is the CW, I’ll stick to things I learned as a photojournalist:

There is always room for improvement.

It is difficult to find a more compelling subject than Mark Ingram stiff-arming a cornerback off of his feet. My freshman year, I got to take pictures of Mark Ingram scoring touchdowns, and because Mark was awesome, my photos were awesome and so I thought I was awesome. I was wrong. I started ‘reading my press clippings,’ so to speak, and I closed my mind to how I could improve. As a result, I missed some really great opportunities to take great photos and really bungled some others.

Showing up is half the battle.

“Hey Drew, we need you to take photos of this lecture” is something I have heard a lot throughout my career. But, showing up to events and listening to people talk is a surprisingly valuable experience. Just getting out and covering assignments regularly has yielded unforeseen benefits, like ending up with an extensive portfolio, making that business contact or having your work noticed by someone who gives you an internship.

 Be Consistent.

Do you know what you call a photojournalist without a camera? A reporter. I resolved to take my camera pretty much everywhere I go, and I’ve done a pretty good job of that. As a result, I had my equipment with me on April 27 and was able to do my job when it mattered most.

Always have a backup plan.           

When did I use my backup battery? When Tuscaloosa had no electricity for a week. When did I use my extra memory cards? When Alabama went into overtime against LSU on Nov. 5. When did I use my backup camera? I didn’t. I totally got burned for not having a backup camera.

Remember that being alive is pretty cool.

I learned this from April 27. I spent a lot of time taking photos of the damage. Wading — literally — through several miles of tornado-ravaged Tuscaloosa gave me a perspective that is difficult to explain with words. All I can say is that sometimes just surviving is pretty great.


Drew Hoover is the photo editor of The Crimson White

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