Bryan Oller mug

Bryan Oller, Photographer/Videographer

Being a photojournalist is not a job; it’s a privilege. I remember that every time I lift the camera to my eye and push that little black button.

When I was asked during my recent job interview with the Indy about which of my pasts photo assignments was the most memorable, I had to pause for a minute. After all the crazy, beautiful, scary, historic and gut-wrenching scenes I’ve witnessed, I struggled to pinpoint that one event that rose to the top. 

My mind went completely blank. For a split second I thought about the World Series when the Red Sox beat the Rockies. No, maybe it was that time I captured  legendary Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy make his final dive as the puck and his glorious career slipped on by.

It also could’ve been the Democratic National Convention in 2008 in Denver when I photographed a clash between the police and rioters while the Clintons and the Bidens took the stage inside. Or the recent Black Lives Matter protests in Downtown Colorado Springs.

Or that time I watched a casket shepherding the remains of Jesse Givens, the first Ft. Carson casualty of the war in Iraq, as he was carried off the plane with his heartbroken wife right behind him. It also could’ve been any one of the dozens of memorial services for fallen soldiers that I and my colleagues covered over the years.

Or maybe it was any one of those amazing high school sports events I’ve witnessed. The wins, the loses, the tears and laughter.  

About 10 seconds later after the question was asked, a familiar song came into my head, Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” 

And then I uttered, “It was Hurricane Katrina.” We were sent to Mississippi to cover the aftermath and look for any Colorado Springs connections. It was a long trepidatious drive and eventually we found what we were looking for, including members of the Colorado Springs Fire Department who were there to help with the massive clean-up effort. 

So why, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, you may ask?

That’s exactly what it was. Highway 90, along the coast, was littered with broken dreams as far as the eye could see. With mouth agape, I’m sure, I noticed a shattered piece of particle board with those words spray painted on it, next to a busted guitar.

I’ve had a front row seat to history more than once in my career and I still don’t believe I’ve captured my best image. But I intend to do just that every day I’m here. Like I said, it’s a privilege to be a photojournalist, especially amongst driven colleagues such as mine. We all carry one common thread and that is, truth matters. And every time I push that little black button, a new story is revealed — and that is why I do what I do.

— Staff notes originally run in our daily email newsletter, Indy Now, along with news updates, photos of the day, a weekly poll and more. Sign up below.