Daniel Newman ’14 Snaps Winning Photo
A captivating photograph by Daniel Newman ’14 (mathematics/computer science) rose to the top of Nikon’s “I Am Next Contest,” emerging from 14,000 entries in the company’s search for the “next great visual storyteller.” Newman will receive a Nikon D750 DSLR camera and a full complement of lenses and accessories to help him further tell his story.
In Newman’s photograph, his brother Eric is receiving a nerve block procedure. Certainly the image resonated with voters, but it was the story behind it that really struck a chord. His brother has battled debilitating side effects from multiple concussions and Newman hopes to raise awareness and educate others about the serious impact they have on athletes and their families
“Daniel’s expression of his brother’s struggle and his own passion for educating others about the dangers of concussions is a perfect example of the spirit of Generation Image, exemplified through his stunning yet moving contest-winning image,” says Lisa Baxt, Associate General Manager of Communications, Nikon Inc.
An Eye for Photography
Newman always had en eye for photography, in particular as a means of documentation. His parents handed him a camera as young as age four and he later borrowed his father’s film camera in middle school. He enrolled in his first formal photography education right here at Purchase in the Youth Programs in the Arts and further dabbled in photography classes in high school.
And a Head for Programming
Just out of high school, Newman was practicing martial arts when unbeknownst to him, his sparring partner was the CEO of InDorse Technologies. With no more experience than a single computer programming class he had just completed, Newman was taken aback when the CEO offered him a position as a software engineer. “He said ‘I like how you think’ and I said ‘you’re out of your mind.’ I took one class and I didn’t do that hot in it,” he says laughing.
He took the job anyway and earned his Associate’s degree while working there. He then transferred to Purchase to complete his Bachelor’s degree and enrolled in a photojournalism class with adjunct lecturer and photographer Robert Sabo. He found the experience transforming and a mentor in Sabo.
“There was something that clicked for Daniel when he took my Photojournalism class. I’d like to think I made some contribution, but really it was his own doing. He fell in love with photography and this love showed up in his images. He has since used this passion and enthusiasm to excel and make even better pictures,” Sabo writes.
Searching for Stories
Newman searched for interesting stories to tell but without a press pass, he found it difficult to utilize Sabo’s advice, that, “’Some of the best photojournalistic work happens because photographers were able to get close to their subject in a non-intrusive way,’” he recalls.
Newman noticed he had a story unfolding in his own home as his brother struggled with the physical and mental ramifications from multiple concussions: problems with memory, balance, irritability, and chronic migraines. “I realized I was sitting in the midst of an impactful story,” he says.
He submitted the winning photo to Nikon and the reaction was immediate, the feedback overwhelming. Parents of children and those who themselves experienced traumatic brain injuries offered thanks to him and prayers for his brother. Newman garnered the power of social media and created a Twitter account, and using the hashtag #concussions, he’s become an advocate for the cause.
“He is an extremely gifted storyteller and he has worked to use photography to tell the important story surrounding concussion injuries to young athletes. It’s very nice that Nikon recognized him for this achievement but he should be extremely proud of this work regardless,” says Sabo.
Newman had been working in programming for more than five years when he graduated in 2014. “It’s weird to say that I’m ready for a career change, but I realized that through my photography and other endeavors that I’m too much of a creative person to sit at a desk and literally just type code.”
In Fall 2015, he attended Indiana University to earn his Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction. He promised to have his camera with him at all times looking for more great stories to tell.
An extension of the Nikon project will be posted soon on the I Am Generation Image sub-site which will feature a short documentary about Newman’s work and more images related to concussion awareness.
See more of his work here: 500px
See a video from the American Migraine Foundation about his award-winning photograph: https://youtu.be/F8d5hN3-m3c