By Greg Gielczyk

LUDINGTON — Joe Washington is a relative newcomer to the professional photography scene, having officially started in 2014.

But, he’s always had an interest in capturing images of people and events since he was very young growing up in Louisiana. Washington moved to Michigan in 2001, and now lives in Ludington.

Growing up without the financial means to purchase a camera and the necessary equipment, Washington found himself unable to realize his yearning to become a photographer.

“When my parents would ask me what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, I would always say a camera,” Washington said. “I’ve always had this love and desire to take pictures.”

He didn’t attend college, but took online classes to learn about using lighting and

how to operate a camera manually, rather than just have what’s often referred to as a “point and shoot.”

LSJ Photographer Joe Washington

But that doesn’t mean Washington isn’t educated in photography.

“Each year I go to a photographers’ conference in St. Louis (Missouri),” Washington said. “A lot of great photographers from around the world come to this conference. They put on workshops and classes. You kind of learn from the best. I’ve done that for a number of years.”

Last year, Washington became a volunteer photographer at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, working in the athletic department. His assignments included football, basketball, volleyball and soccer.

Washington has covered numerous subject matters while standing behind his camera. But, eventually, sports became his particular passion.

“I reached a point in time when I asked myself ‘What’s the genre that I really like, or brings me the greatest joy,'”? Washington asked. “I would say it’s sports photography.”

He reached out to the Local Sports Journal and it proved to be a huge asset for both parties. His work is regularly featured on the journal’s website.

Other than photography, Washington works for the Michigan Education Association as a

labor representative. He covers a large area that includes everything from Oceana to Benzie counties.

Photo courtesy of Joe Washington of game action at a Ferris State University hockey game against Michigan State.

Photo Courtesy of Joe Washington of basketball game action at Ferris State University