By Ryan Henriksen
Having the responsibility of documenting an entire university is an exciting challenge. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is home to a vibrant community of students, faculty and staff with endless photographic opportunities happening every day. It is inspiring to be around so many smart and talented people in all different academic fields, but knowing what to photograph and when to be there can be a daunting task. A large part of my job is to stay on top of what is happening on campus and to know what can make for a thoughtful image to help tell the story of the university.
Annual events like Durango Days and the Signature Service Days are opportunities for me to explore the campus and the community to document what students are doing and the positive impact they have in Omaha. On the rare occasion, I have an open schedule, I spend time walking around campus and through buildings I haven’t visited in a while. This helps me reconnect with professors and students to find new stories and get new photo ideas.
There have been a few times I haven’t had advance notice to plan out a shoot. Events like the President of the United States visiting Baxter Arena can’t be planned out in advance but knowing its historical significance for the university and for Omaha, I needed to make sure to cover every different aspect of the day.
The job has also taken me outside the city. I traveled to India over the summer with Dr. Patrick McNamara, Director of International Studies and Programs at UNO, to document his work with partner universities and his research on water quality. I was able to plan out what gear to bring but each day brought a new unexpected adventure.
I go to work every day excited for the planned events and ready for the unexpected. Each day is new opportunity for me to do my part in adding to the visual history and help tell the story of this great university.
Ryan Henriksen has been the multimedia specialist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for 2.5 years, telling the story of the university on campus and abroad. Prior to that he worked as a staff photographer for newspapers across the country documenting and telling the stories of people in their communities.