Girls from Copper Hills High School make last minute checks on costumes and props before their performance in front of hundreds of family members and friends at the 4A-5A State Drill Team competition Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, at the UCCU Center in Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. Copper Hills finished second place in the 5A competition to Bingham High. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

Jordan Stead is Seattle native and 2011 graduate of Western Washington University with a major in visual journalism and a minor in environmental studies.  He has interned and been affiliated with such outlets as ZUMA Press, Seattle Magazine, The Bellingham Herald and The Skagit Valley Herald. His work is recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, Scripps Howard and the Washington Press Association. Stead is also the co-founder of The Emerald Collective, a three-part visual production company. Aside from organizing the world into one rectangle at a time, Stead enjoys cold showers, hot vacations and temperate attitudes.

Over 80,000 individuals – most of them of LDS faith – celebrated the ancient color festival of Holi Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Spanish Fork, Utah. The festival is one of the largest in the world of its kind. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

How was your internship structured?

The six-month internship was structured with the intern functioning as a full-time staffer extension to the photo department. I had Wednesdays and Sundays off, which I oddly enjoyed. The split weekend has always been that way (as far as I know) at The Daily Herald, but legend has it that it might be changed for future interns. The internship was paid.

BYU’s Mikey Su’a collapses onto the field while being swarmed by his teammates after winning the national rugby title against Arkansas State 49-42 on Saturday, May 19, 2012, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. A crowd of media and sidelined teammates rushed the field at the sound of the final whistle as BYU field players hoisted the winning plaque skyward. As a medal was later draped around Su’a’s neck, the faint glimmer of tears shone in his eyes. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

Who was your supervisor or mentor?  What did you learn from that person?

Mark Johnston – a jet-pilot-mechanic-turned-photographer-turned-photo-editor – was steering the ship for my time while in Utah. Just about the same time I was informed of my acquisition of the internship, Mark took the helm as editor. Both he and I began our new positions within weeks of each other, if memory serves me correctly. Mark was the editor a young photographer can only hope to get; a forward-thinking, creative, relaxed-yet-composed editor who is still passionate about the craft of photojournalism. The timing was perfect. At the tail end of my internship at The Skagit Valley Herald late last fall, I knew what I liked and didn’t like in my work, but isolating the good and disposing of the unsure was my weak point.  I was on the cusp of a style I could finally call my own. My time in Utah with Mark’s advice and guidance helped to bridge that gap – a gap I believe to be one of the final steps a photographer must make before gaining the confidence to necessitate a life of strong images. Everything about my photography improved while at The Daily Herald. My sense for the lead image, the flow of a successful edit and the power to compromise a personal favorite for the most storytelling image became more acute. Even my toning got better.

Hayden Marble, 17, center, sends a text message to a friend from his perch on the thrashed hulk of his vehicle at the Pony Express Days Demolition Derby Friday, June 1, 2012, at the Eagle Mountain Pony Express Rodeo Grounds in Eagle Mountain, Utah. Nearly 3000 attendees packed into the sold-out venue to watch the family-friendly destruction. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

Describe the environment/dynamic of the photo department.

What do you get when you mix a young editor with three even younger photographers and the freedom to do what we may with time and photographic equipment? A constant surprise. Not only were the gentlemen at the DH incredible photographers, but instant friends. Staffers James Roh and Spenser Heaps will always be considered lifelong buddies of mine following my six months in Utah. While we all had a similar drive and stylistic approach to covering assignments, one of my favorite things to do was look back on the “Week in Pictures” gallery on and take in the diversity of vision and photographic choice on the events we covered. Communication between the four of us was spot-on; rarely was an organizational mistake made, and Mark went well out of his way to coordinate the most efficient use of shooter’s time. When a slow day rolled around or assignments were wrapped for the day, the four Musketeers took to the studio to shoot absurd portraits of each other. All kidding aside, the best part about being an element in the department was the fact that there was room to grow.

Gabe Jackumsen, 10, poses for a portrait while hooked up to his Respirtech high frequency chest compression device Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, at his home in Payson. Two years ago, Gabe’s parents, Travis and Karen Jackumsen, took him to the doctor after his complaints of chest problems. He was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Twice a day for thirty minutes each, Gabe must allow the vest to shake his chest, keeping his lungs and airway clear. While his morning session with the machine safely occurs before his fourth grade classes, the avid Cub Scout and basketball player sometimes finds himself having to come home for his evening session between recreational activities. “The most annoying part about it is I can’t move around a whole lot while it’s on,” Gabe said. “Except when he’s playing Wii,” said his father, Travis, with a laugh. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

What was your favorite assignment and why?

Shooting in the long golden hours of a Utah spring and summer makes everything fun, but some of my favorite events tended to air on the quirkier side. Demolition derbies, the annual LDS Conference, Holi, the BYU national rugby championship, pow wows… the list goes on. Naturally, as it is with newspapers, you will undoubtably cover events that you aren’t so keenly interested in – but that is just the way it goes. My philosophy is to take those kinds of assignments and try to make something more out of them, as a good time can be had at just about anything. Interns at the DH also get a chance to try their hand at NBA games and other events operating on a tight deadline.


Shawn Black, left, takes a spill off of his aimlessly wandering animal during a game of donkey basketball Thursday, March 29, 2012, at Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork, Utah. The school’s agriculture club used the event as a fundraiser, bringing Donkey Sports, Inc. all the way from Washington state. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

What was the most important thing you learned?

Learning goes hand-in-hand with the reinforcement of existing knowledge. To put it bluntly, the DH helped to refine myself as a photographer. My images have more impact and better represent the story, edits are much leaner and confidence in my skill set is greater than it was previously. The aesthetic style to my pictures is starkly obvious – especially now – and my time in Utah Valley aided in the further development of that visual palette. All in all – the DH did what a great internship should do for a growing photographer.

Andrew Reese, 20, of Salt Lake City, listens to his iPod in an effort to memorize a song he was intending to sing during an annual Native American Pow Wow on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at Camp Jeremiah Johnson in Hobble Creek Canyon, Utah. The event – meant to enhance awareness for Native American culture and raise funds for scholarships – was complete with traditional dress, food, dance and music. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

Describe your personal and professional growth during the internship.

Although my answer echoes the previous, a maturity came with time spent in Utah. For better or for worse, I approach assignments like personal work. The way I “see” is reflected in the edit, but it does not overpower the importance of the subjects or story being covered. After working with many editors and photographers over the past several years, being around fresh eyes in a new environment forces rapid growth.

Hannah Cosper, 16, left, perfects the application of her thick, red lipstick before the annual performance by the young women of Shelley’s Irish Dance Company on Monday, April 30, 2012, at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, Utah. The concert featured the state teen fiddle and guitar champions, members of the group Firefly, the Timpanogos Pipe Band, An Rogaire Dubh and the local championship Highland dancers. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald

What will you do next?

After a number of internships that moved me around the United States, I could not be more excited to return home to Seattle and know that it will be my home base for some time. The Emerald Collective, a visual production company that I operate alongside two friends – Mark Malijan and Kyle Seago – was lucky enough to land an international project that took us to Haiti in late June. Upon my return, my ultimate goal to photograph for The Seattle Times will close out my internship career. After all is said and done, I plan on freelancing for a year or two with my business and seeing how that fares. This work is always a ride – I’m sure more surprises are waiting in the wings.

BYU’s Robb Stowell buries his face in his jersey after a point was scored against his team by a Long Beach State player during a quarterfinals game on Saturday, April 21, 2012, in the Smith Fieldhouse at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Jordan Stead | Daily Herald