We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Shipman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
One thing about being a news photographer or photojournalist in the broadcasting industry is that it’s a selfless position to be in considering we are the backbones to majority of the content that gets aired for shows. Reason being is majority of the time you are teamed up with a reporter. You are capturing footage and conducting interviews for your reporter’s news story or what we call a package. You edit the package to be submitted to the newscast before deadline–with no credit because all the audience sees is the reporter attached to the story. But, its a team effort.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe what sets me apart from other photojournalists is not only my eagerness to learn and adapt, but my attention to detail. My line of work is fast paced and demanding which would lead you to believe we have to shoot and go to the next thing on our agenda. But I will take the time in scope out the scenery before I hit record because I believe the environment and the people that surrounds the news photographer will always have a pulse on what you should have your attention on. At the end of the day, you are not only the eyes and ears for your colleagues back at the news station as to whats going on, but you are also a direct line of communication to your community that you report to.
My journey in media began once I started school in 2013 at Georgia Military College as a Media/Communications Major. From 2013-19, I was evolving I was doing everything to prepare myself for the road ahead. From doing spoken word poetry in front of an audience for the first time to writing short film scripts. Also, getting behind a camera and learning the ins and outs of how to use different format cameras from DSLRs to fixed-lens.
After obtaining my Bachelor and Master’s Degree from Augusta University and Full Sail University, I finally landed an entry-level position as an Associate Producer at WJBF News Channel 6. From there, the news station was my oyster. I not only showed the station I can do what I was hired for, but I can walk and chew gum as well, which is why during the civil uprises that were happening not only across the country but locally in Augusta in year 2020 I took the initiative and documented the protests.
Was it easy? No, it wasn’t easy. Nothing is ever easy, but what made me overcome the challenges ahead was understanding why I am here. Once you understand why you are here, then you begin to treat each obstacle or challenge like a learning curve. So, as long as you are learning you are overcoming challenges that come your way in your professional life. But, there is also sacrifice. I understand working for free is never ideal. However, if the goal is to elevate and to get promoted do whats necessary to get there. Step into the role that you want even if that means taking on some extra hours (unpaid) to show that you are capable and the man/woman for the job.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, recently I just moved to Kansas City, Missouri from Augusta, Georgia. So to say the least back at home in Augusta, the best places I like to go eat out at is Nacho Mama, Pizza Joint, Soy Noodle, Big Mama’s Soul Food, and Vance Bakeries. Here in Kansas City, the places I’ve been to thus far to eat and drink are Char Bar, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Nighthawk. Plus, they have a nice Shopping outlet called Country Club Plaza.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There is a person that deserves recognition for their support and encouragement. That person’s name is Tamarkus William Baker. Will and I have been friends and colleagues since college. It has been 7 and half years since we’ve met. And, he has not only shown to be a good friend but a great brother too. We crossed together into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and he basically was my introduction into getting behind the camera and getting my foot in the door in the media industry at my first station which was WJBF News Channel 6. Plus, he helped prep me for the news photographer position after he left his position as a photographer.