While most IUP students are hanging out on campus, junior communications media major Autumn Dorsey is hanging out with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and professional athletes Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. Dorsey spent her weekend
working as a photographer for the National Basketball Association in Chicago at the NBA All-Star game where she photographed the games, skills contests, celebrities, and the
Dorsey got her “side hustle” gig after connecting with the photographer for the Washington Wizards, Ned Dishman. Dishman was the first person to hire her
to shoot the Wizards and later sent Dorsey’s portfolio to executives at the NBA.
To start her career as a freelance photographer, Dorsey shot concerts and other events for free. “I got laid off from my job, and that’s when I decided I had to stop relying on other businesses for work and just do it for myself. I was tired of seeing
other people live the life I wanted.”
The work is exciting; but doing this while a full-time student is a challenge. “It is extremely hard to balance this work with my classes. When I got the email from the NBA, I spent as much time as I could working ahead of my classes so when I’m traveling,
I won’t have to worry about homework.”
In the Department of Communications Media, Dorsey credits photography professor Rachel Fox for helping her hone her camera skills and Jim Lenze for demonstrating
the importance of a good handshake. “It is so essential. Without Dr. Lenze showing us the right way, I would have checked Shaq’s pulse. That would have been an awkward situation.”
Dorsey’s experience has already exceeded her professional goals, but there is more she wants to do. “I wait for the day I can tell my mom she can quit her job. She was 16 when she had me and didn’t get to go to college. We had some tough times when she
didn’t eat to make sure my siblings and I did.”
Dorsey had made her own sacrifices to start her career in photography. “I used my school refund checks to buy camera equipment. It wasn’t always a good idea because it was my rent money. But now I have enough to pay my rent.”
Dorsey's next job will be shooting photos for the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles in March.