New campus photographer advocates through his work
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 08:01
After years of following stories around the state for the Omaha World-Herald, Jeff Beiermann is thankful to be more stationary and more attached to his work. He was hired by UNO in November, replacing long-time photographer Tim Fitzgerald.
“Here at UNO I get to be more engaged and I can give back more,” Beiermann said.
Beiermann hasn’t always been behind the lens. He started his journalism career as a sports writer for the Fremont Tribune while studying at Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Neb.
“As I followed the teams around, I got to know the photographers and also started to take my own pictures,” Beiermann said. “Eventually I knew the position for a photographer would be opening up, and I applied.”
The paper decided to give him a chance to prove himself in the full role. In those early years, he spent a lot of time and energy making sure he found the best shots. This work ethic has stuck with Beiermann throughout his career.
Beiermann went on to freelance for The Associated Press in Omaha. In 1994 he started his 18 year career working at the World-Herald.
“As a photojournalist, you have to remain detached and neutral,” Beiermann said. “Every day was a crisis situation, too, to try to figure out what needed to be run for the day.”
The job frequently required night and weekend hours. While he enjoyed the organized chaos of the news environment, he wanted to be able to be around his children more often. He has two sons and helps out as a Boy Scout leader. When he was hired at UNO, he asked if he could bring them along to events. He was elated to hear that it wasn’t a problem, but was encouraged to be with his family.
This will be his first full semester as campus photographer. In addition to being a full-time employee at the university, he’s also working on his master’s degree in Public Administration.
“I’m really not too old to be looking at a career change, but I certainly wish I had started earlier,” he said.
Throughout the semester, he’ll juggle attending classes and taking photos. His photo assignments for the university include photos for e-Notes, the alumni magazine, sporting events and others.
He works closely with University Relations and other administration to capture moments that sell UNO’s image, while also showcasing the great things happening on and off campus.
Beiermann doesn’t want to be a mere observer. He wants to be an active participant at UNO and in the community. He firmly believes in the power a photograph holds and hopes to be able to use his skills to help students in particular. Whether it advertises a current student’s event or fascinates a potential applicant, Beiermann wants to start a new career perspective where he can pick a side and advocate for it through his work.
“When you take a really good photo, you’ve immortalized the moment and the people in it,” Beiermann said. “That’s just as powerful as writing up a news story about it.”