Hatch Visuals Agency

There are few things as influential in life than having a mentor to help grow you. That's what Hatch Visuals, the only student-run photo agency in the nation, tries to establish for budding photojournalists at UNT. This year I was fortunate to serve as Photo Editor aka Training Coordinator. We visited the Dallas Morning News for a workshop with THE Rick Gershon (Media Storm); DMN staff photog Vernon Bryant also visited his alma mater for a meeting. 

Hatch Visuals is a non-profit organization that serves clients in the metroplex, raising funds for equipment, workshops and training seminars, while providing mentorship opportunities to students in photography and photojournalism. www.Hatchvisuals.com

Follow Every Rainbow

Storm clouds rose high in the west.

I quickly ran to my car after class and grabbed my camera. I ran faster toward the horizon in hopes of making pictures. Then, I spotted a Frisbee. 

Practicing on the field was the ultimate Frisbee team at UNT. Perhaps, I thought, this is exactly what I needed for such a dramatic backdrop of sky. Then, the double rainbow appeared. 


"You know, so often it's just sticking around and being there, remaining there, not swooping out in a cloud of dust; sitting down on the ground with people, letting children look at your camera with their dirty, grimy little hands, and putting their fingers on the lens, and you just let them because you know that if you will behave in a generous manner, you are apt to receive it, you know?"

Dorothea Lange

Dropping by

"Look who made the front page!" said Maride Tillman, Maleyciah's mom, as Uncle Pete walked through the front door from the icy cold. The Tillmans have lived in the same home in Southeast Denton for over 20 years. Yesterday I became "part of the family." 

I dropped by to deliver a stack of newspapers, the front page of the Feb. 10 issue of the North Texas Daily emblazoned with a photo of Maleyciah in an orange football jersey, holding hands with her teammate from Calhoun Middle School. The inner-city school, as it is often regarded, carries a comradery that is unique to Denton as a minority-majority school. For many students and teachers, strength is found in the struggle, as 70 percent of students are from poverty. The story and photo essay were part of a Fall 2014 project in Professor Mark Donald's feature writing class, where I produced a blog on the PECAN neighborhood in Denton.

And with the publication I became eligible to represent UNT in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program. 

But there are few things more rewarding than seeing the humble raised up for all to see.

Maleyciah and her little sister, Hadassa, hit each other with newspapers.

Maleyciah and her little sister, Hadassa, hit each other with newspapers.

When I last saw the family, shortly before winter break in December, Maleyciah was wrapped in a blanket on the couch as her younger sister, Hadassa, teased her. They hadn't been able to afford a mattress yet, and the small heater puttered out every ten minutes.

Yesterday, everyone was excited to tell me news about what God had done in their lives since we last saw each other. The new building that The Bridge church is moving into overshadowed the new mattress, the new carpet, the new heater. 

It was a new feeling for me, watching as the family poured over the paper together, naming off everyone they were going to give a copy to. It was pride of a different kind. I was proud of Maleyciah.

"Make sure and drop by!" said Maride as I stepped out the door. I'll be back, to watch Maleyciah tryout for high school football, and to rejoice with them as we see all the things God does in their lives.

View the multimedia slideshow, or find "Calhoun's Courage" here on the stories page.