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Experienced Photojournalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area available for freelance and long term assignments worldwide.

Work experience

Sep 2012Sep 2014

Staff Photographer

Napa Valley Register

Staff photographer for Napa Valley's daily newspaper. In addition to shooting news, features, sports and business profiles, I assimilated myself into the community to find and pursue story ideas, including a semi-regular photo column "Rites of Passage". Worked closely with reporters and editors to identify issues and cover events and to turn stories around quickly for the web. I also spent one shift a week working as assistant to the online editor, helping to upload and manage content for the website and social media, using it as a platform to better integrate and promote photography.

Dec 2011Dec 2012

Photojournalism Instructor

Venice Arts Merced

Taught photojournalism to at-risk youth in Merced County as part of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative. The initiative aims to bring awareness and policy change to issues of health in the community. As an instructor for Venice Arts I worked with documentary photographer Roger Wyan to help Merced County youth tell their stories through traditional photography and emerging media with a focus on  the issues that affect their lives and the community at large.

Mar 2012Oct 2012

Photo Editor / Staff Photographer

Patterson Irrigator

Photographed general and breaking news stories, features and sports for weekly newspaper serving the community of Patterson, CA. As the sole photographer I also acted as the photo editor, making all decisions involving photography and assignments. Worked closely with reporters and participated in budget meetings. Managed online photography content for website, Facebook and external galleries set up for print sales. Managed contributed photos and file art. Researched updated archiving systems that would allow editors to view and share photos between in-house staff and off-site editors. Sought new ways to deliver news and create a dialog with readers via social media and raw video.

Aug 2008Feb 2011

Staff Photographer

Merced Sun-Star

Photographed general and breaking news, features, portraits, sports and other subjects for 20,000+ circulation McClatchy-owned daily newspaper serving Merced County, CA. Forged relationships within the community to find and develop photo stories. Collaborated with editors to execute stories both online and in print. Posted daily photo galleries and breaking news video to the website. Frequently shot video while shooting sports assignments for The Sean & Shawn Show, the Sun-Star's weekly sports podcast. Periodically wrote stories and columns to accompany my photos. Shared photos with other McClatchy-owned newspapers in the Central Valley, including the Modesto, Fresno and Sacramento Bee.

Coordinated CalFire media and fire safety training workshops for McClatchy staff and area photographers.

Jan 2008Jan 2011


Mid Valley Publications

Covered a variety of assignments with a strong focus on community related issues and events, including general news and features for the Merced County Times and its affiliate weekly newspapers in the Central Valley. 

Jul 2005Dec 2007

Production Assistant

Link TV

Provided production assistance for original content during the station’s quarterly pledge drives. Co-produced a 6 minute documentary piece on musician Michael Franti's annual 9/11 Power to the Peaceful concert in Golden Gate Park, teaching myself to use Final Cut in the process. Link TV is a non-profit satellite news station and independent media orginization funded by private grants and viewer donations. They aim to provide a global perspective on news and events.




Rhode Island School of Design

RISD European Honors Program, Rome, Italy





Resourcefulness, sensitivity and a good nose for news help me to quickly break down barriers with strangers and gain the trust needed to integrate myself into whatever situation I am covering. The intimate and unexpected access I gain often leads to profound connections and a wealth of story ideas. My initiative and enthusiasm have given legs to many assignments.
Adobe Photoshop, Photo Mechanic, Aperture, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, NewsEditPro, Quark Xpress, Adobe Illustrator, iMovie, FinalCut Pro, Various Online Content Management Systems and Social Media applications



Articles I've written and shot

Awards and Recognition

  • CNPA Better Newspapers Contest finalist in the categories of Sports and Photo Essay, 2009
  • SFBAPPA monthly Clips Contest winner

Member of:

  • National Press Photographers Association
  • San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association 

About Merced

Merced County deals with a wide spectrum of social issues. As one of the most economically depressed counties in California, Merced County suffers a 20% unemployment rate in the city of Merced and over 40% in some of its outlying communities, has high rates of crime and gang violence, and leads the nation in foreclosures with home prices devalued by over 70% from the height of the boom. On a brighter note, Merced boasts a culturally diverse population which punctuates daily life with vibrant traditions and a strong sense of family and community. It is also home to the University of California's newest campus, UC Merced. With the emerging UC Merced campus, Merced is seeing an influx of researchers and health care professionals who have come to study the many health issues that plague the Central Valley and provide care where there has previously been little.


Mike Tharp

Executive Editor

Merced Sun-Star

** Please email me for contact information