"Every new beginning, comes from some other beginning's end"

The Spectrum has led me to a new beginning


Let’s take a step back to early January 2012, my last semester in high school. With my high school days coming to an end, I made a small decision. A small decision that may be the best choice I have ever made.

I chose to take a class for fun. Prior to this class, I really didn’t take many of the fun electives my school offered. I was too busy focusing on grades and athletics.

The class I enrolled in was Intro to Photography. A class that taught us how to make pictures – and yes, I mean make.

In this course I was able to experience the true art of photography. No programs for fixing mistakes here. Just myself, a camera body and lens that was much older than me, to go along with a roll of 35 mm film.

After shooting through a whole roll of film, which is usually 24 shots, you have to develop your film. Then, you make prints of your photos in a darkroom. The whole process can be quite lengthy, but the experience is invaluable.

Photography was the first thing I truly ever fell in love with – not science, math or some girl. I knew that photography was what I wanted to do in life.

After high school I headed to UB. All I had for a camera at the time was a point-and-shoot. Nothing crazy, just your average camera you see on family vacations. I spent a lot of weekends photographing North and South Campuses.

Halfway through the fall semester of freshman year, I knew I wasn’t happy as an engineering major. I met with my academic adviser, and we got onto the subject of photography and I showed him a lot of my work. I also showed him the camera I was using and he was blown away. He went on to say something that was simple but important. All he said was, “Do what you love.” My adviser also introduced me to The Spectrum.

Now skip forward to the beginning of my sophomore year, fall 2013. Over the course of the summer, I had purchased a real camera. To make things even more exciting that fall, I was joining The Spectrum as a staff photographer.

The Spectrum is where my vision started to become clearer. I have changed immensely during my tenure at The Spectrum, as a photographer but mostly as a person. I usually kept to myself before joining the staff. It wasn’t until joining the paper that I really started to open up, especially after becoming an editor.

The Spectrum has provided me with many intangibles that will never be forgotten. An overwhelming amount of my friends are in some way connected to The Spectrum. The Spectrum is a place where I’m proud to work and many people don’t understand why.

When I talk to my family about how things are going at UB, I tell them about my photography and The Spectrum. I don’t tell them about the courses I’m taking for my degree, which is now business administration.

Lastly, let’s come to the present. I am currently the Senior Photo Editor for The Spectrum, which is the position I wanted since my first day as a staff photographer. I am in charge of “Humans of UB,” where I conduct brief interviews with random students on campus and take their portrait.

This project alone is a testament to how much I’ve progressed. Even just last semester the thought of walking up to and interviewing a random student on campus would have never crossed my mind. Talking to people I don’t know used to make me uncomfortable, and now I’m not afraid to talk to anyone.

I am also proud of being the first photographer at The Spectrum to receive a national award for the paper and photo desk. One of my photos from sophomore year was a finalist in an annual competition hosted by the Associated Collegiate Press. Placing higher than other photographers who work for newspapers and schools with massive journalism programs was just plain awesome.

The most amazing part about all of this is so much bigger than me. All of the things that happened for me are because of The Spectrum and UB. The university has so many incredible opportunities happening on a daily basis for its students. My opportunity was The Spectrum.

The Spectrum has allowed me to do the unimaginable. I have photographed and met people like esteemed physicist Michio Kaku and comedian John Oliver, covered championship-winning teams and world-renowned artists and freelanced the NCAA March Madness Tournament for Syracuse University. The list goes on and on.

None of this would have happened without The Spectrum. I would have laughed if somebody told me at freshman orientation that this is what my future entailed. Who knows where I’d be without the paper, but I am more than happy that I chose this path.

The memories I’ve made at The Spectrum are countless, and it’s sad to see my time here come to an end. In order to keep growing, I have decided to forge a new path on my career journey. At the end of this semester, I’ll begin an internship with UB Athletics as a photographer and I’ll learn new programs so I can become a graphic designer.

I still have three semesters at UB, and my work is just getting started. Semisonic got it right when they ended their 1998 hit-single “Closing Time” with the following lyrics: “Every new beginning, comes from some other beginning’s end.”

email: chad.cooper@ubspectrum.com