2010 — student award of excellence
Ryan Henriksen is a staff photographer at the Columbia Daily Tribune. He studied photojournalism at Brooks Institute, where he received his Associate's degree, and at Ohio University, where he received his Bachelor's degree.
While attending Ohio University, Henriksen was named the 64th College Photographer of the Year by the Missouri School of Journalism. He has also been recognized by the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, the Alexia Foundation, SportsShooter.com and the National Press Photographers Association.
He has worked for The Virginian-Pilot, National Geographic Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Currently a Columbia Missouri photographer available for freelance, corporate, wedding and portrait photography.
What I have been working on is a story in Appalachia that is trying to show something other than the poverty that is everywhere in this area. I want to produce a story that shows how the people here live, not just what they live with. My goal is to not just show poverty, but to show how people can live rich, full, happy lives in spite of their situations - how they can live above their situation and that the poverty they cannot escape from does not have to run their lives.
Inseparable Ties is a documentary about one mixed family's resiliency, imagination, and ties stronger than blood. The Hedges family resides in New Straitsville, a small town in rural southeast Ohio, and is comprised of Wayne and Lorena Hedges and their 11 children. Seven of the children are from Wayne's previous marriage and 4 are from Lorena's previous marriage. In spite of the poverty and poor living conditions, which surround their daily lives, their love for life and their love for each other continue to carry them over and beyond most of these obstacles. The children are (from oldest to youngest) Jeremiah, Lamanda, Zanyle, Chandra, Earl, Alisa, Shantelle, Shyanne, Cierra, Jacob and Reanna.
Lorena is the primary breadwinner for the family and spends most of her time working at a local bar in downtown New Straitsville. Lorena's income is supplemented by Wayne’s, who scraps metal from old cars and works construction with his brother when he can. While their parents are away from home and working long hours, the children who range in age from 6 to 17 are on their own with the oldest ones in charge. Although they are not blood related, the children refer to one another as "brother" and "sister."
The oldest girls have learned how to make enough dinner for all 11 children and how to do all of the laundry. The oldest boys help out with enforcing the rules and making sure everyone has their homework done and clothes laid out for the next school day.
This project is focusing on the relationships between the children and the independence they have gained at such young ages. They are growing up in an area where teenagers are pressured to use drugs and where many teenage girls become pregnant before their 18th birthday. These children have learned how they need to act at school and with their friends in order to maintain the stability they have at home.
I feel strongly that this story is important and needs to be told because it is about how relationships, love and maybe a little spirit of adventure can fill our lives and take us back to what matters most and what we can all connect with.