©Stacy Pearsall

©Stacy Pearsall

In 2010, I enlisted in the Marine Corps with the intent of becoming a photographer. Fortunately, it worked out, and for five years I traveled throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East working for Combat Camera. During my travels, I began to wonder what it would be like to be a newspaper photographer, envisioning it as an opportunity to connect in a more meaningful way with a community. As luck would have it, the chief photographer from the Jacksonville Daily News covered my unit’s homecoming at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. We were introduced, and soon after, I was freelancing for them.

 During that following year, the last of my enlistment, I spent evenings and weekends documenting community events and high school sports. And it was sports that helped me find the meaningful connection I’d been looking for. After freelancing for them, I was hired as the senior photographer for a nearby paper, the New Bern Sun Journal, where I won several North Carolina Press Association awards for my sports images, including sports action and photo essays.

 I loved working at the newspaper and still tell people it was the best job I ever had, but I came to realize that I had to expand my skillset as a visual storyteller. Wanting to develop my understanding of the craft and learn about video, I applied to Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, seeing it as an opportunity to learn and work with the best visual storytellers. All the valuable experiences and good friends I’d met in New Bern made leaving tough, but after being accepted to Newhouse, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. 

Since arriving at Syracuse in the summer of 2017, I’ve discovered that I’m drawn to topics that revolve around hard work, dedication and commitment at the highest levels. Sports and music are two such topics. Serious athletes and musicians strive for the top, but few get there, and that especially piques my interest. To explore the process and the result of such perseverance, I work as a staff photographer at the nationally acclaimed campus newspaper, The Daily Orange, photographing sports, news and portraits; contribute to The NewsHouse, photographing music and sports; and intern at the Syracuse University Athletics Department, photographing games, practices and behind-the-scenes lives of athletes during game day.

Exhibition and Awards

2016 – Summit Sports Photography Workshop Recognition

2016 – 1st Place, sports, North Carolina Press Association

2016 – 2nd Place, sports, North Carolina Press Association

2016 – 2nd Place, sports photo essay, North Carolina Press Association

2017 – 2nd Place, sports photo illustration, North Carolina Press Association

2017 – 3rd Place, sports, North Carolina Press Association

2017 – Light Work Newhouse Photo Annual (exhibition)

2018 – Photo District News 2018 Photo Annual (one of 11 students nationwide selected for publication)


Syracuse, N.Y. || Ph: 262.661.9344 || Email: photo@toddmichalek.com || Instagram: lightcurrent