Nicky Rojas was always interested in photography. When she was a child, her father had a darkroom in the basement of their home for developing pictures. Before digital photography, photographic film had to be developed in the dark, as light exposure would ruin it. The process of seeing pictures develop from a black sheet to an image amazed young Rojas.
“I loved watching the images appear, the shapes form and darken. It was a magical experience,” Rojas recollects.
Photography as a career never occurred to her until college. In 2002, she entered a photo contest through the Observer, a subsidiary of The Guardian. Her portfolio was well received and she was invited to a private exhibition of the winning work, where she met an Art Director from The Guardian who offered her a work experience position–essentially an internship.
“I worked on and off for about a year taking photo’s, researching and scanning images for articles before I had networked with other people from the Guardian who would take me on for work experience,” Rojas said.
She worked on the paper’s weekend magazine for a short stint before a vacancy came up. She gathered her portfolio together and applied. She was just what the paper was looking for. Rojas equates this all good fortune to being at the right place at the right time.
“I’m extremely lucky. Photography is a very competitive field, it helps to network and know the right people, and take advantage of every opportunity you can.”
Rojas has worked in many different sections, from travel to weekend magazine, to her current position as a photo editor for g2, a Monday through Friday arts and entertainment supplement.
With The Guardian being one of the largest daily papers in the world, read by thousands of people, every minute of every day counts. Mornings at the Guardian start off with section editor meetings. Rojas then meets with the page editors for whatever section she is currently in. Right now, she is in g2, a daily supplement to the paper. As a photo editor, her job ranges from sorting through AP and Reuters wire photos, looking for the picture that best fits the situation, to setting up photo shoots with celebrities.
“Setting up a shoot will usually involve liaising with the Celebrity’s PR, arranging a suitable time and location and then booking a photographer,” Rojas explained.
Journalism is a very fast paced business, especially when something big is happening in the world. Both writers and photographers feel the heat.
“The Royal wedding was most stressful as you’re practically racing against other newspaper websites and news sources to get the best pictures out there as soon as possible,” Rojas said.
But that is part of the fun with this job. She loves how there is something new every day at The Guardian.
“It really is a an amazing job,” Rojas said.