Michael Blackshire

Michael Blackshire, undergraduate from Western Kentucky University, won the Fujifilm scholarship.

I have been blessed to make amazing memories in photojournalism through out my college photojournalism career. I recently received the Rich Mahan Best Student Portfolio at the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar for 2019. I worked on a team project which won first place in the Hearst competition in 2018, and received 7th place in the Hearst Picture story category in 2019. I received the Jimi Lott NPPF Scholarship in the spring of 2019, which is still an amazing honor to have. I received 1st place in the Kentucky Press Association for Best Photo Essay. After I finish my last semester of college in the spring of 2019, I will start a summer internship at The Washington Post, a selective internship with hundreds of applications received every year. I consider accomplishments as goals for my future, and to keep improving every year to work towards my goals and to make my future self proud of me.

Career Goals
I want to continue to work as a photojournalist for a newspaper or magazine in a big news market. I will want to eventually go to graduate school within a five year span, which I hope will be payed for through a photojournalism job or being a part time graduate student professor. I want to have the opportunity to receive funding to work on long form narrative storytelling projects through journalism publications or through a newspaper. I eventually plan to be at a point in which I can talk to other aspiring young journalist and give speeches to them in classrooms and staying in contact with them through email. Speaking to the youth is very important to me, and especially young people of color. I want to be a leader for young journalist who are people of color, and unsure them what career path they want in life. The goal would be to guide them towards journalism and to discover what field in journalism and photojournalism they want to accomplish in their career.


Click on pictures to see stories.

Within Our Borders

Joshua hugs his sister, Scarlett, after spending the morning waiting to see if their number will be called to obtain asylum in the United States. They have come almost every week for the past three months, but their number has yet to be called. As President Trump seeks to fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall, thousands of immigrants like Joshua and Scarlett await their fate as they seek their own dream of starting a new life in the United States. With the quiet moments in these images from Tijuana, I will discover more of the layers of this polarizing topic. This essay looks through the looking glass from the perspective of the migrants who are on one side of the border.

Broken Branches

A visual and written piece that documents the rising homicide rates mainly in the Southend and Westend of Louisville and how gun violence effects families in a city that is not nationally covered. The project started in September of 2017 and ended April 2018. The project represents a voice to people who were never given a voice in a small city with a big homicide rate. The families of these victims stories are moving and will always be remembered.

Project role: This was a portrait series project that started from a story idea I had while taking pictures stories after the increase I saw in gun violence in my hometown of Louisville. I wanted to focus on a project in my hometown that did not receive recognition from major outlets in the past, I wanted my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky story to be told. As the semester came closer to a end last Spring I was suggested to get my peers involved to help me build a website over my images. The project came together and won first place in the Hearst Team Project Category.

Until She Comes Home

On July 24, 2019, the Cruz family are evicted from their home. The three bedroom house they called home the past three years became unaffordable for siblings Adrian Cruz, 12, Kimberly Cruz, 16, and Jose Cruz, 21. Their mother Adriana Cruz had been detained on a sunny summer day on July 11th, 2019, in Las Vegas while the siblings were at home. Adriana was headed to the bank when ICE pulled her over, the same bank she planned on depositing her check to pay the split payment of rent, which was due the same day. The Cruz children couldn’t afford to pay the rent for their house without the help of their single parent mother, so the landlord evicted them within a week of Adriana’s detainment. The day prior to moving, the siblings were forced to sleep in a hotel after the landlord locked the door to their house, and woke up early to say goodbye to their home and pack. While moving into their new apartment, the only hope they could look forward to after eviction was the glimmer of hope that their mother would come home.

Before I leave This Earth

Ms. Antoinette Harrell, 59, decided almost twenty years ago to look up her family history in
record books in Louisiana and Mississippi, but what she discovered was much deeper. She
found out that her family and many others were enslaved or willingly enslaved all of the way up
until the 1960’s, and several African American’s in the deep south were in modern day slavery
while still working on plantations. She wants their stories told and for the younger generation
to learn from their ancestors.

Project role: I was the sole producer, editor, and director in this short doc for my final project in my short form documentary class, covering Mrs. Antoinette Harrell’s story

Of Horses and Man

Reggie Gough, now 59, is a Marine Veteran, who spends his days riding horses around Franklin, KY. He is a brick worker during the day for a mennonite family company, but spends most of his days horseback riding. He once had land with horses and a house he help built, but lost his property when the owner sold the land. He often taught and gave horseback riding lessons but mainly focuses on going through life as a drifter. As his day’s pass, he lives life with the myth of the Horseman in Franklin, Ky shadowing his every move. Reggie Gough will be known as the man with the horse, and will one day become folklore in his city.


Singles, unrelated photographs.