Two months out from our departure to Greece, I received a camera in the mail.

Fewer than two weeks out, I am finally beginning to feel confident in my ability to navigate it.

It was the middle of March when my mother told me she wanted to get me something special for my birthday this year. I had asked in December if I could take her higher-quality camera with me to Greece. Instead, she said, she wanted to buy me my own camera to use in Greece and beyond.

So, though it was 50 days short of my actual birthday, my mother shipped me the new technology so that I could learn to use it in the weeks prior to my departure. Day by day, practicing with the camera has made me increasingly excited about the trip and my potential to develop as a journalist. Now, I have the opportunity to grow not only as a reporter, but also as a photojournalist.

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A Boston Police Department officer directs traffic outside Fenway park.

Good photography has a transformative impact on stories. It brings breathtaking images that tell volumes to people’s experiences and sparks empathy for those in faraway lands.

This was evident in many stories already published detailing the multiple crises in Greece, and especially those telling the stories of refugees. In the New York Times piece, “The Refugee King of Greece” (shared by one of our professors), the style, placement and content of the photos made the story a realer and more emotional journey. A recent Aljazeera photo story (shared by a fellow student) presented the daily life of refugees in a way that depicted a clear image of their daily struggles.

Photography vastly expands the power of journalism, and I am thrilled to be able to expand on my own photography skills. I have always loved being behind the camera, from my early days of taking portraits of my toy dolls with disposable film cameras to taking accompanying photos for stories with my high school newsroom’s high-powered camera.

Before, these were always minor endeavors. In Greece, however, I hope photography will become an entire facet of my journalism that would leave my portfolio incomplete to not include.

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Waves crash on a rocky cove in Hull, Massachusetts.

I have practiced with camera settings and different types of photo subjects. Between taking photos outside Fenway Park to capturing the beauty of the beach town Hull, Massachusetts, I have been training so that when I have opportunities in Greece, I will be able to perform.

In Greece, I hope to photograph everything. The people, the places, the views, the historical monuments, the animals, the shops, the food, the modes of transportation, the plants – everything that combines to shape my experience in Greece, I want to have on camera. And everything that helps tell the stories that I want to tell, I must capture in still frames as well.

The moments I can capture and the stories I can tell through the lens of a camera will truly expand my ability to document my time in Greece. Though adding this to the list of new skills I hope to learn while in a foreign country will undoubtedly pose its own difficulties, I am up for the challenge.

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This blog post also appeared on Northeastern University School of Journalism’s website, https://camd.northeastern.edu/journalism/

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