Michael Blackshire

Michael Blackshire, a graduate student at Ohio University, won the C. Thomas Hardin and Mary C. Hardin Documentary Photojournalism Scholarship.


I was the CPOY Runner-Up this year. I have interned at The Las Vegas Review Journal and I have freelanced at the New York Times and The Washington Post, with front page and front page sections in both. I am currently a graduate student at Ohio University with a scholarship and a position as a TA, which has me teach a lab once a week. I have over the past two year received the inclusion scholarship through Getty Images and NABJ, and received a scholarship through NPPF the past two years. I have been a part of the Hearst Photojournalism team that won first overall in Hearst Photo in 2020 and 2019, with entries placing 7th in picture stories and 6th in the singles category. 


Career Goals

I want to continue to work on long form documentary storytelling. I want to document stories that make a difference and continue to work on two projects a year. I would hope to work for a newspaper or magazine publication once I graduate as a staffer. I would then want to give speeches to minority youths once I grow in my career, and I also want to teach undergrad students once I graduate as well. A ideal career path would be to become a staff photographer at a news publication, while being a part time college professor. This way I can teach my students while having daily on the job knowledge as well. 

Leadership Essay

I believe this past semester has showed and tested my leadership skills. I worked as a TA this semester, and each week I made a lesson plan for my students. I used leadership to teach students what needed to be learned to help them for the semester. I needed to make sure they understood the material and work with students who did not always know how to give feedback back. I made sure they learned something new every week, and create a atmosphere of kindness for them to enjoy a class that is meant to be fun and not leave them stressed. I will also be a TA in the spring term, and I want to use my leadership skills over this past semester to help my students next for the spring term, and to make a impact in their academic lives. 


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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.

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.