In the crazy and extraordinary world of journalism, budding creatives often find themselves wandering down career paths they never imagined. Photographer Jenny Anderson learned early on that it was sink or swim in New York City when she jumped a shipping company ship to shoot on Broadway.
Anderson, a graduate of the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media, began his pre-medical studies at a junior college. During her first two years, she got involved in school plays and other clubs which led her to follow a more creative path and realize that she didn’t want to study acting. medicine.
She soon changed her plans and transferred to the University of Mississippi her freshman year to study photojournalism. While writing is the primary job of a journalism student, Anderson enjoyed photography and began working for The Daily Mississippian, the school newspaper.
“I basically worked where they wanted me,” she said, “mostly taking pictures on campus and at football games.”
Anderson and a fellow student from the Daily Mississippian began covering the theater department’s performances.
“I wanted to go behind the scenes and show the less glamorous side of the scene,” she said. “Everyone wanted their photos taken, so I asked the director if it would be okay if I went behind the scenes.”
This idea ignited his desire to become a Broadway photographer.
After graduating, she applied for over 100 jobs in cities large and small.
“The only company that actually offered me a job was running a tour boat that cruised around New York,” she said. “I would take pictures of tourists as they boarded the boat and then try to get them to buy them. They told me if I could be there in two weeks then the job was mine.
Anderson took a life-changing leap. She sold everything and bought a one-way ticket to New York. Not one to settle down, she persistently pursued her Broadway dream and landed an internship at Broadway.com. It was her first step to do what she really wanted to do with her talent.
“The day came when I finally got the chance to cover my first Broadway show, which was ‘Wicked Day,'” she said. “The problem was that I was still working for the tour boat company and had to work that day. They wouldn’t let me go so I quit over the phone. It was terrifying. I was coming to quit my full-time paid job.
The decision was a great decision for Anderson. The chance to work with Broadway.com led to a six-year stint with the company and a higher salary. On a whim, she dropped out and left to become a freelance photographer. She told everyone she worked alone and used her connections on Broadway to meet actors, directors and publicists.
“Jenny has always been a bright student, very willing to work and put in the effort,” said Mark Dolan, a professor at the UM School of Journalism and New media. “Jenny has always been good at making connections. She also tries to help anyone looking for journalism opportunities. If there’s ever anyone in New York, she’s always more than willing to meet them.
Anderson always takes pictures in New York.
“I’ve been independent now longer than I’ve been with Broadway.com,” she said. “It’s been about eight years now, so in total I’ve been working in my profession for about 15 years.”
As a freelancer, Anderson’s days are never the same. They range from studio shoots to opening nights on Broadway to filming the Tony Awards.
“The Tony Awards are always like a pinch moment when I’m there,” she said. “When filming the event for the first time, I realized that I was good with a camera.”
Anderson has photographed a long list of celebrities, including Andrew Garfield, Demi Lovato and others. Being a Broadway photographer has allowed him to take incredible photos of notable Broadway actors like Sutton Foster.
In 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19, Broadway stages went dark and Anderson put down his camera.
“After about 35 days in confinement, I finally got my camera back,” she said. “I was so discouraged by everything that was going on that I didn’t even want to touch my camera.”
Anderson was one of the lucky ones who found steady work during the lockdown. She came up with the idea of doing Zoom photo shoots, starting with her friends and eventually Broadway actors.
After a long period of uncertainty, New York City has eased shelter-in-place restrictions and the gates to Broadway have reopened. Opening night ticket sales skyrocketed and everyone was back to work.
Today, Anderson is behind a camera again and making the most of the new normal. Ask her for advice and she’ll tell you that perseverance is key.
Today, she works on projects that still involve Broadway, but she’s also currently filming for New York Fashion Week, Getty Images, and other projects she keeps secret.
Anderson made the most of a dream she had as a junior in college, proving that you can walk a path that takes you where you truly belong.
Categories: BUSINESS, EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, FASHION, FEATURES