Two months ago, bags packed and camera batteries charged, I walked onto a plane in Baltimore and off of a plane in Florence, Italy. Since then, I have learned a lot about myself, a lot about photography and very little Italian.
To be a photographer in a different country is both exhilarating and frustrating. To see a new world with golden light at all hours of the day, brightly colored doors and buildings and fashion that would shock Bill Cunningham himself, is a dream come true for anyone with a camera and a good eye.
A journalist, on the other hand, is first and foremost a communicator. We observe, listen and ask questions. We want to learn all we can about the people we meet and the places we go.
In Venice, Italy, I learned the beauty of balancing history and modernity. In Brussels, Belgium, I learned the importance of supporting public and accessible art. In London, I learned how to laugh again. In Prato, Italy, I learned how to celebrate life and honor death.
The most valuable skill I’ve acquired as a journalist in another country is communication is universal. Though it’s been difficult, I have learned not to let language barriers keep me from telling stories.
Regardless of the borders that divide us, we are all humans. I have crossed paths with people from all countries who speak all languages — even some people who can’t speak at all — and I have been fortunate enough to listen to their stories.
I am proud of the photographs I have taken throughout my semester here, but I am even prouder of the stories that I will be able to share.
It is a beautiful thing to be a photographer in Italy, but it is even more beautiful to be a journalist.
Carrie George is a photojournalism major in Kent State's Florence Study Abroad program this spring semester.