SHU photographer Joey Khan talks ups and downs of taking pictures

Growing up, Seton Hall senior Joey Khan was never a sports fan.

So, when The Setonian, SHU’s student newspaper, asked him to take pictures of a women’s soccer match in the fall of 2014, he was surprised—but intrigued.

“They just said they needed pictures,” he said, “and someone I knew gave them my name since he knew I was trying to get into taking pictures. It all worked out.”

Khan said that prior to the soccer match, he was taking pictures casually. He’d snap a few while on vacations or attending concerts, but had no intentions of making a career out of it. Now The Setonian’s digital editor and sports photographer, Khan also has a job with Origin Films, a six-person film company in New York, which has hired as many as 100 freelancers for a given shoot.

“Tech operations, rearrange sets, operate equipment, do service online,” Khan said. “I try to do it all (for Origin).”

The sports gig helped him land his position with Origin, but it hasn’t been a straightaway path to success.

“Growing up as not a fan of sports, I felt that I was at a disadvantage at first,” he said of sports photography. “Knowing the sport is crucial to getting yourself a good shot. There are professionals who have been doing it for 20, 30 years and they just know when to pull the trigger. That was hard at first.”

Khan was also struck by the physicality needed when covering a men’s basketball game at Prudential Center.

“It gets real physical,” he said, laughing. “Oh yeah. The biggest thing is not wanting to get into someone else’s shot. If you lean forward a little bit, you might really mess somebody up. And that’s wrong. I was throw some elbows at first, but now I kind of feel bad. I don’t get paid for this, but it’s how some people feed their families. I’m trying to get the best picture, myself, too. But I don’t go out of my way to screw other people up.”

Last year, the Pirates played Gonzaga in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Denver, Colorado. No. 6-seeded Seton Hall fell to the No. 11-seeded Bulldogs, 68-52. Even as a new follower of sports, Khan was in awe.

“They flew us out there, which was one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me,” he said, referring to himself and another writer. “I felt like a celebrity. It was a very surreal experience.”

Khan still has the credential from that game hanging over the doorknob in his dorm.

“That one’s special,” he said. “The others are in my desk drawer. I like to have that one out.”

-Thomas Duffy


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