Torin Halsey reflects on his career after retiring from Times Record News
After almost 40 years in photojournalism, 36 of them with the Times Record News, I decided to take a step back and reflect on what has been one of the most fun, satisfying, scary, frustrating, and interesting jobs I’ve ever had. could have hoped. for. I often joked that it was so much fun I would do it almost for free. Almost.
I started filming in black and white, making prints in the darkroom, and ended up taking high-resolution digital images with a device that looked as much like a computer as a camera.
After entering a local photography contest, I was lucky enough to win a two-week internship in the photography department of TRN. I learned to know deadlines and guidelines and to always spell people’s names correctly.
Starting out as an advertising photographer for the newspaper, I took pictures of anything that could be sold through newspaper ads. Shoes, cars, handbags, homes, food and products of all shapes and sizes.
Then I moved to News Photographer, which included general news assignments, breaking news, more food, fashion, photo illustrations, business news, and sports.
There’s nothing quite like capturing the competitive spirit in everything from T-ball games to Texas Rangers. Youth football, Boys Club football games, to the Dallas Cowboys and their sold out games at Jerry World. MSU basketball to Texans in the 80s and 90s and the heart of high school sports, Friday Night Football.
My job also required me to take pictures of difficult things. Fatal car crashes, gunshot wounds, house fires, drownings and too many other things that made it hard to sleep at night.
I have met some of the most interesting, intelligent and humble people. CEOs, politicians, presidents, homeless people, protesters, artists, teachers, movie stars, comedians and famous musicians.
I’ve been blessed to have been to places and experienced things that the average person might never see.
Places like in the rafters of the Kay Yeager Coliseum, three stories below the bottom of Lake Kemp, on the side of a billboard, inside the original Doppler radar dome, the aerial ladder of a truck fire brigades, the roofs of dozens of buildings and even abseiling from the side of Big Blue.
I photographed a mother’s tears as she listens to her late son’s heart beat in a transplant patient’s chest.
I’ve traveled to countless small towns, several big cities, and met some of the friendliest people in both.
I’ve had so many late nights, vacations, and mornings on call. You know that here in Texoma, that means working through record heat, blizzards, flooding, hail, driving rain, and the occasional super-cell thunderstorm. The news doesn’t stop at bad weather.
And it happens everywhere. I have taken pictures on board boats, from a racing car, upside down on a motorcycle, a historic steam train, in several military aircraft, a hot air balloon, helicopters, a powered parachute, on horseback and even upside down in a vintage, open cockpit biplane.
There have been literally hundreds of thousands of photographs over the years. Needless to say, no two days are alike in the news world.
It feels good though, knowing that I was able to record so many moments of history, whether big or small. It has been a privilege to try and capture these remarkable moments for our little corner of the world.
Not to mention my activity of shooting weddings, events, many family portraits and more.
I have enjoyed working with some of the most talented, dedicated and ethical people you can find.
The news industry has changed a lot over the years and I hope it can continue to transform and adapt to whatever the future holds.
As I prepare to leave my career in photojournalism, I would like to thank you for supporting my work over the years. I consider myself lucky to have made a living doing something that started out as a hobby.
In case I didn’t mention it, I loved my job.
I’ll still be in town, but probably with better posture – this camera gear is definitely heavy.