In June of 1977, I took the second step of my career and left employment at the university photo department to become a newspaper photographer. Not only was it unnerving to take a pay cut and leave the familiar I also had some big shoes to fill. My friend and predecessor was a great photographer who would go on to work for National Geographic. My desire to explore the craft more deeply was motivation enough to take a chance.
It so happened a small circus was in town for the weekend ahead of making my debut at the Idahonian on Monday morning. It was an obvious source for the picture I assumed would be required of me for the front page of the next edition.
When I entered the gates at the event, I didn’t expect to feel so self-conscious. It was now my job to be in the middle of things with a camera. Through my years as a photojournalist, it was my goal to be an innocuous observer.
As the first papers bearing the credit ‘Photo by Randy Kalisek’ rolled off the press Monday afternoon, I was disappointed that my efforts from the weekend had been usurped. One of our reporters was good with words and a camera — it was his work that took the prime spot above the fold that day.
My disappointment was nothing compared to the terror that came with the realization that within 24 hours, somehow, somewhere, I would have to find pictures and meet deadlines all over again. And the day after that, and after that, and after that.
I recalled that day and those feelings some six months later when I realized that somehow, someway, it always worked out.
I breathed a pleasant sigh of relief.