Flint, MI — Hailing from Binghamton, NY, Flint Beat’s new photojournalist, KT Kanazawich, said she’s looking forward to giving people a well-rounded view of Flint.
“I obviously did a lot of research before coming here,” Kanazawich said. “I’ve dived into everything from the ‘Flint Town’ TV series to a million different photo stories and articles. It definitely gave me an expectation of what Flint would be like and in just my few days here already, I can see that’s not the full picture. I want to tell a more well-rounded version of Flint. Jiquanda Johnson, Flint Beat founder and publisher) and I talked about restorative journalism and how it’s not all crime and crisis. Although they exist, there’s a lot more happening that we want to show.”
Kanazawich went to the Rochester Institute of Technology, starting in journalism. When she heard that journalism could be a tough road financially, she switched to advertising.
“I was like, ‘Well, gee, I have to pay this huge student debt. Seems like advertising may be the way to go,'” she said.
But her passion for journalism ended up leading the way. After several portfolio reviews of her advertising work, her professors weren’t very impressed. However, they continued to commend her documentary-style work and acknowledge that she was great at capturing the moment. Her real passion was obvious. After college, she leaned more into documenting and moved on from advertising.
Kanazawich came to Flint Beat through Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on uncovered issues and communities through its reporting corps.
Kanazawich heard about the opportunity with Report For America. She’s been a photographer most of her life and wanted to use her skillset to help newsrooms document the world she found so fascinating.
“To me, a photojournalist is someone who takes images of real life, events that are happening, and communities,” she said. “Having a camera is powerful, so I think it takes a lot of deep thinking about what you’re shooting and your perspective on life and the communities you’re documenting. To me, it’s always important to always be listening, have feedback, and do a lot of collaboration with people.”
As far as being a photojournalist in Flint goes, Kanazawich is ready to take on the challenge and let the city tell its story.
“I think we’re in a really crazy time in the US right now, and the world, and there’s a lot of voices that need to be heard. Listening is really important. Collaborating with your subjects instead of just taking the picture, make an image with your subject as a team. Allow their voice to be heard instead of your own. There’s a lot of different perspectives on all of the issues and they’re all valid.”