Spring 2022 graduate Liam DeBonis began college with few clues as to what he wanted to pursue for a career. Following a random application for freelance photographer at the Daily Lobo, according to DeBonis, everything fell into place. Currently freelancing for the Albuquerque Journal, he is excited for graduation and the opportunity to focus all of his attention on his photojournalism career.
“Honestly, school has kind of taken a back seat to my job as a photojournalist,” DeBonis said. “I’ve definitely put my heart and soul into the photojournalism aspect of my life.”
Near the beginning of his career with the Daily Lobo as a photographer, DeBonis covered many protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd and national renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter movement. In working to document these events, he has been trapped in clouds of tear gas and caught in the midst of lethal and nonlethal gunfire. This dangerous work has tired him, but has been invigorating nonetheless.
“I … just happened to come across the job listing. I’d done a little photography in the past and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll sign up,’” DeBonis said. “I got a real taste of journalism — photojournalism specifically.”
Madeline Pukite, a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo, has worked with Liam and takes a great deal of inspiration from his work in photojournalism.
“I’ve known Liam for about two years, since I first got hired at the Daily Lobo. He was photo editor at the time and I remember just always being really blown away by the photos that he took and just his style of photojournalism,” Pukite said.
Though he considers himself to be first and foremost a photojournalist, having even won the Lobo’s Mark Holm award for exceptional work in photojournalism and for “embodying the spirit” of Mark Holm, according to a description of the award; he has also spent approximately a year serving as the copy chief for the Daily Lobo, ensuring adherence to the regulations of the Associated Press and the Lobo’s own house rules. The pressure of the many titles he has held has been immense, but he credits his work at the Lobo with his recently uncovered passion for photojournalism.
“For all the stress it’s been, I know I’ll miss it when it’s gone,” DeBonis said. “I’m going to miss the camaraderie, the editors meetings and print nights. I hope to continue being part of the Lobo as an alumni.”
Pukite believes that DeBonis is destined to be a phenomenal photojournalist and that, in many ways, he already is.
“Every time he takes a photo for a story he just really elevates it. Whatever community he winds up covering and working in will be incredibly lucky to have him,” Pukite said.
Some of DeBonis’ work is available for viewing at his website, liamdebonisphotography.com.
Natalie Jude is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached on Twitter @nataloroni or at firstname.lastname@example.org