I was born down South in Harlingen, Texas, where I lived with my mom, uncle and grandparents. I lived there up until I was six years old. My mom and I then headed to Houston to live with my Tia for about a year. It didn’t last long because our next move was to Plano where I started first grade. I lived in Dallas for about nine years and moved around two more times in the Northern Dallas suburbs. During this time, I had got my first camera and my first interest in photography. It was a navy-blue Polaroid that took 600 film. My favorite things to take pictures of were my family, my stuffed animals, and my trips to muscle car shows.
Of course, we didn’t stay in Dallas long, because I started my first year of high school in Austin. I remember taking that future job test back in middle school where “Journalist” and “Photographer” were results. I was curious and determined to register for Journalism I my freshman year. My journalism teacher was Ms. Proctor. She introduced different stories, writing techniques and AP style that has helped me throughout the years of studying journalism in College. My sophomore year I was in Photojournalism I. We did some fun photo projects and even developed film in our darkroom. For the next two years I was a staff photographer for our yearbook. I covered sports, events and the overall high school experience.
After I graduated in 2013, I attended Austin Community College. My first semester I took Intro to Mass Communications and U.S. History I. I was working at target, so being at work promoted was more a priority than college. At the time I had a cousin who was living in Germany with her family (her husband was stationed there with the Army). They asked me if I wanted to be an Au Pair, a live-in nanny, and help out with their kids. I’ve been babysitting my little cousins since they were born so, without hesitation I said yes and got my passport and one-way ticket. I left in Dec. 2014 to live Esslingen, Germany for a year. Esslingen is a medieval town south of Stuttgart. I loved living in Europe and being able to live, travel with my cousins and experience new cultures. I even had my first photojournalism experience, without classes or training.
I was in Germany when the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was shot up, leaving 12 people dead in Pairs on Jan. 7, 2015. It happened on a Wednesday, so Parisians had a solidarity march scheduled to happen that Sunday. When I saw the Facebook event of the march, I knew I wanted to go. I had to be there. I don’t know why but I needed to capture that historical moment. That Sunday I sat on a four-hour train ride to Pairs. I had already been before with my family in December, so the trains were familiar. After I arrived at the main station, I headed to the closest metro stop to where the march was going to be. It was surreal how many people were there. Reports estimated that more than three million people were attended the march. The entire atmosphere was filled with passion and solidarity from the Parisian community. I was there with my camera shooting what I could and traveling through crowds of people. I’m pretty proud I was able to capture the emotion that these people had, even without any college training. Here are some of the photos I took that day.
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