Maddy Gray, 2007
After graduating from MICA in 2007, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with photography so I headed to Minneapolis and worked at a portrait studio for a year. Although I learned a lot, I also learned that photographing kids all day wasn’t the right fit for me. So in typical young art school graduate fashion, I packed up and moved to New York City, without a job but with the support of lots of friends.
I ended up getting an internship with Magnum photographer Steve McCurry. The internship quickly turned into a studio manager position. I managed projects with clients all over the world to help execute large-scale commercial shoots, exhibitions, book projects and international workshops. I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Myanmar and Argentina, and I got to see first hand how much work it takes to run a photo studio. But most importantly, I realized that documentary photography is really my passion. I want to tell other people’s stories.
In order to learn how to do that, I went to Ohio University to get my master’s degree in photojournalism from the School of Visual Communication, which I completed in 2012. Whether I’m documenting the last gasps of a dying coal town in rural Appalachia or the peaceful coexistence of Christians, Muslims and animists in southwestern Burkina Faso, I try to approach every story as a community journalist seeking to uncover the details and personalities that make each place unique. Currently I’m doing an internship at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida. I’m not sure if newspaper photography will be my final landing spot, but for now, it’s an exciting opportunity to learn new skills and explore a new community.