I've been dreading writing this post. Fluctuating sales, combined with an increase in interest in my work from other programs/athletes, as well as a couple other recent events, have accelerated this post. It's time.
It's been a good run Jackson.
211 Boys Basketball games
87 Football games
42 Girls Basketball games
18 Softball games
17 Baseball games
12 Girls Soccer matches
As well as a couple dozen other assorted games and events.
I often refer to Jackson High School as my home away from home, and I have loved every moment. Every Student Athlete that has taken the field or court wearing Timberwolves Green has been special. Every time I see one of them post my photos and credit me, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Friendships with parents, and student athletes will be cherished forever. My utmost respect to Joel Vincent and Steve Johnson. Without their generosity of time, access and I'm sure, at times, patience, I wouldn't still be doing this. I look forward to a continued relationship with them both. My tremendous thanks as well to the Jackson Basketball Booster club for their continued support and to the Football Booster Club, a million thank yous for the business and support the past four years. But it's time to make some changes.
Over the past week or so, you may have seen me tease a new logo (see above). Two years ago I toyed with the idea of expanding my brand to include a blog post where I would interview athletes that I was going to photograph that week or had just photographed. It died an early death due in large part because I didn't have a clear vision for what I wanted it to look like, and how I would implement it. that combined with what was becoming an overwhelming shooting schedule of 3 football games a week, or up to as many as 12 basketball games a week doomed the project before it had a chance to come to life.
Beginning this fall, I am going to revisit that idea. Re-branding who I am and what I do under the banner of SW Preps. The focus will shift from being almost exclusively Jackson, to the WESCO league as a whole, focusing on not just the tremendous programs at Jackson High, but the many other athletes, teams and coaches at the other WESCO schools.
This isn't goodbye. Jackson remains my Primary school in my role as photographer for WescoAthletics.com. As it stands, I plan on photographing most, if not all, of the Jackson home games for football and boys basketball, and making a more concerted effort to get to more of the other Timberwolves teams' events that I haven't covered as much as some of you might have hoped I would. Reducing my "away schedule" with the Wolves football and basketball teams, will allow me to begin to cover other WESCO teams and athletes with blog posts, interviews, and of course photos! Maybe even eventually audio and video as well as incorporating other photographers... You'll see more info on where you will be able to find and follow all that in the coming days and weeks.
Why this and why now you might be asking? As much as I've loved the time covering Jackson almost exclusively, This is my job. I am a full time, freelance photographer. I'm not paid to spend all those hours you see me at games. I only make money when amazing athletes and their families choose to spend their hard earned money on my photos and services. Those of you that have, I'm forever grateful. The truth is that this past year was a down year in comparison to the two years previous, which has forced me to examine the business model and how it can, and must, grow and evolve in order to survive. That is the only way I will be able to continue doing what I love, and what so many of you seem to love as well.
The sports photography game is a tremendously competitive arena that many want to play in. For many of them, this is a side gig. A hobby. Between those photographers many times giving photos away for free, and the ease with which some athletes just screen shot my photos off of my website with their phones, it can be very difficult to make any kind of steady income photographing high school sports. Fact is, I could have easily worked at McDonalds for the past 5 years and made considerably more money. So it's time for a change. It will remain a photography based business, but by incorporating other media and other forms of coverage spread out around the league will hopefully fill a void that I hear many coaches, parents and athletes desire, as well as expanding my potential audience.
So really, what does this mean? If you're a Jackson Football player or Boys Basketball player, you'll still see me...a LOT! I'll be at most, if not all of your home games, doing my usual thing. I just won't be at all of your away games. You'll still see plenty of photos. Ultimately, very little changes for you. If you're not a Jackson Football or Basketball player, this means you'll see MORE of me and my work. I'll probably ask to interview some of you, players and coaches alike. You'll see me post scores, player/coach/team features, game recaps (with photos) of schools and programs other than what has been the norm from me. I may even do features of former WESCO athletes who have gone on and are competing at the collegiate level. I have lots of interesting ideas that we'll give a try. Really this is more about me providing more content. Still Jackson heavy, but with much more WESCO in the mix.
My hope is that you Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors (and your parents) out there continue to follow me. Continue to support what I do, because I will still follow you and support what you do. I'm just adjusting the way that I do that, so that I'll be able to cover not just Timberwolves, but Royals, Knights, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Bruins, Vikings, Mauraders, Bearcats, Bulldogs, Eagles, Warriors, Seagulls, Chargers, Tomahawks, Hawks, Scots, Thunderbirds, Panthers and Spartans.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.