Location: Athens, OH
Joel Hawksley is a freelance photographer from Ohio, currently based in Seattle, where he’s interning at The Seattle Times. Hawksley currently works as the head photographer at the Ohio University Athletic Department, where he produces images for use online and in media guides, posters, and other publications. Hawksley’s work has been published by The Seattle Times, The New York Times, The Denver Post, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Charlotte Observer, Grand Rapids Press, Columbus Dispatch, USNews.com, ESPN.com, Current.com, The Post, Athens Messenger, The Athens News, Sentinel-Tribune, Record-Courier, Buckeye Wrestling, and used by Temple University, North Carolina State and the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
I’ll be a senior this coming year in Ohio University’s photojournalism program.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
Under-promise and over-deliver.
What was your first photography job?
I started a sports photography business my junior year of high school at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio. I photographed every sport our school offered, then sold prints and digital files to the parents. It forced me to learn how to build an ecommerce website and how to market my images to my customers. It also helped me develop an incredibly efficient workflow that I’ve now used for almost four years. By the time I graduated from high school, I could pay for the gear I needed to go to Ohio University.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
Take every chance you can to shoot your heart out. Once you leave the “bubble” of academia, it’s hard to find the time and energy to shoot for yourself. In the past five years, I’ve shot something every week. School is a great place to develop your image and style by pursuing what interests you. For me, it has been sports.
What inspires you about photography?
I look at a lot of photography. I study the work of photographers I admire and the publications I eventually want to shoot for. My favorite photographer these days is Dave Black. He’s constantly pushing the envelope on sports photography.
What makes you go out and shoot?
Making a stronger image than I did yesterday.
What do you like best about the whole process?
The relationships I get to build with my subjects. This is why being a photojournalist is the best job in the world; we get to be a part of people’s lives in a way few others can. It’s amazing to be able to develop enough trust with someone for them to let you into their lives and document them.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
Nikon D3 and D700, NIKKOR lenses, Dynalite AP1600 Arena lighting system, Paul C. Buff Einsteins.
What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
Being versatile, and most importantly, a good businessperson. Knowing what it costs to do business is incredibly important.
To see more of Joel Hawksley’s work, go to www.joelhawksley.com.