If you were asked to describe a courageous person what would you say? Many of us would start with our heroes and heroines from movies, TV shows, graphic novels and sporting events.

But what does someone with courage look like in the real world? Without a cape (or a sword) they can be hard to identify. Especially when they are a student sitting quietly in the front row of your Media Software for Journalists class.

Last month David attended an on-campus seminar with the rest of our journalism students. The topic was the ethical reporting of mental illness in the news. David’s participation in this event was unique because he was also a guest speaker who took the podium in front of his classmates and told them his story.

When I met David for our portrait session it was several weeks after the seminar. On that particular Friday afternoon I was fighting a massive headache. Searching my pockets for a Tylenol I asked how he liked speaking in public and if he had felt nervous.

“It was a challenge,” he said. “Speaking directly to my classmates was the hardest public speaking engagement I’ve done so far.”

“So far?” I asked, not hiding my surprise. “You mean that wasn’t your first time speaking in public?”

David looked at me for a second and smiled.

“No it wasn’t. I do this all the time. But speaking to my classmates was a challenge. You just don’t know how they are going to react.”

David continued. “I just want to help people out. I don’t want them to experience what I went through. If I can help just one person then it’s worth it for me.”

Feeling deeply inspired can do any number of wonderful things to a person. I never imagined that an instant remedy for a splitting headache would be one of them.

Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400

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