Ian Bates grew up in the suburban town of North Brunswick, New Jersey. His interest in photography began with his obsession of creating things. First, with a cheap point-and-shoot film camera brought to a field trip to the zoo in elementary school, and later in high school photography classes. The images became a way to store memories with truth and without them fading away. He is now a junior at Ohio University working on his bachelor of science in visual communication with an emphasis in photojournalism and a specialization in sociology. He recently was awarded Silver in both the General News and Feature categories in the 67th College Photographer of the Year competition, and has shot for AARP Bulletin, The New York Times, Reuters, The Athens NEWS and The Asbury Park Press. Check out the rest of Ian’s work here.
What do you want to do after college?
This is a pretty loaded question for me these days. Its really tough figuring out whether or not I want try to get a job at a newspaper (if there are any jobs available) or if I want to put my energy into building a freelance business. Right now I am aiming towards trying my luck at being a freelance photographer but I’m not sure exactly where I want to be located just yet. Being a freelance photographer will allow me to work on personal projects as well as work for a bunch of different clients, but it really all depends on the industry and what I can work out.
Who has had the most profound impact on you as a mentor?
Starting in high school I started chatting with Matt Eich over email about where I wanted to take my photography and he ended up guiding me into photojournalism and to Ohio University. Since then he has helped me immensely and influenced me in incredible ways. Last summer I was lucky enough to spend the summer working with him in Norfolk, Virginia and learned what it takes to run a freelance business. I couldn’t ever thank him enough for all the photographic and life help he has given me over the past few years.
What is the most rewarding assignment/project you’ve worked on thus far?
I have been slowly working on a project about young men growing up in America in this economy. It has been really fascinating to see the common similarities people my age in totally different situations. It started off in Ohio near school and has continued wherever I have lived. Getting to know people and spend time with them during intimate situations in their lives is truly rewarding.
What do you hope to accomplish while working for the Dallas Morning News these next several months?
While working for The Dallas Morning News I am just hoping to become a better photographer all around. Having the talented staff to look through my takes and guide me each and everyday is going to be really wonderful. I think having different assignments everyday in different situations and light is really going to be beneficial. I am excited for the next few months and am hoping to find a project to work on while I am here. Dallas is a really interesting place thus far.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting school?
Work hard and don’t be afraid to ask upperclassmen for help on anything. Now that I’m further along in school, I take it as my duty to help younger students because I was lucky to be treated that way by those ahead of me. Reaching out and asking for help has helped me progress the most. I also am a big believer in bringing a camera with you wherever you go. You never know what’s going to happen, and photographing your friends and family is still a good way to teach yourself to make better pictures.
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