During the spring of 1982, I was a couple years out of college, applying unsuccessfully for photo jobs all over the country and trying desperately to get my career as a photojournalist out of the starting blocks.
Mentor Phil Schofield suggested that I find a story to work on and gave me some contact info for National Geographic World. He had some success doing the very same thing and thought I might have a shot if I found the right story.
As luck would have it, friends Alex and Kayo Fraser, and a collection of neighbor kids they had essentially adopted, were just the idea I was looking for. I pitched “How I spent my summer vacation with draft horses” to the magazine and they bit!
I ordered a brick of Kodachrome that very day and set about documenting a summer of work and play for this makeshift family of horse lovers on the photogenic farm they lived on in Dover, Idaho.
It is hard to overstate how important this small success was to my career. It gave me some much needed confidence, a solid resume piece and a little money, that I used to to help fund a trip to the Missouri Photojournalism Workshop the next year.
By 1984 I was working for the Idahonian/Daily News in Moscow, Idaho and I have been fortunate to remain employed as a photojournalist ever since.
I am so grateful to Alex and Kayo, Mia, Josh, Mindi and Myra for letting me tell their story. Such fond memories.
Chris Pietsch is the director of photography for Gannett Newspapers in Oregon, The Register-Guard in Eugene and the Statesman Journal in Salem.
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