For our latest Alumni Spotlight we have Benjamin Krain of Maumelle, a journalism graduate and an award-winning former photographer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He now works for the UA Little Rock Office of Communications, where he photographs all university events, athletics, and marketing and promotional campaigns.
Ben’s family moved to Arkansas when he was in elementary school because his father got a job as a professor at UA Little Rock in 1978. “I graduated from UALR in 1996, and then I got a job at UALR in 2018, 40 years after my dad,” he said.
What made you choose the School of Mass Communication for your degree?
“I transferred to UALR as a junior. That’s when I first started taking photography classes. I eventually completed every photo class offered, so Professor Gary Cawood had to create independent study classes. As good as I thought I was at photography, Cawood told me it’s difficult to make a living taking pictures and suggested I enroll in some journalism classes to have better opportunity to get a job at a newspaper or magazine. I changed my major to journalism and ended up getting a job as a photojournalist for the Democrat-Gazette right after graduation.”
Who was a faculty member who made a strong impact on you and your career path?
“Both my photography professor, Gary Cawood, and my photojournalism professor, Jay Friedlander, are responsible for my career as a photojournalist. Cawood spent a lot of time with me deconstructing photographs and seeing beyond the literal image. He also convinced me to change my major as a senior, which meant I had to stay in school an additional year and take Mass Communications classes. That’s where my photojournalism professor, Jay Friedlander, helped me secure an internship at the Democrat-Gazette, which turned into a full time job after graduation and a career as a photojournalist.”
What advice would you give to current students?
“It took me a long time to figure out what kind of career I would enjoy and be successful in. I was lost for the majority of my college classes. I didn’t discover photography until the very end. I tell young people to keep exploring and continue to try new things. Never give up on things you love, always follow up and most important, don’t be lazy.”