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SHANE THOMAS MCMILLAN ’10, Berlin, Germany, a freelance photojournalist based in the German capital, was visiting a friend in Paris last November when terrorists opened fire at the Bataclan concert hall less than a block away. He was one of the first photographers on the scene, capturing haunting images and talking to survivors in the shooting’s aftermath. PRI’s The World published his photos, and several major news outlets, including CNN, interviewed him in the following days.
“In the moment, my first instinct was to shoot photographs—as a trained photojournalist, that’s what I went to school for—so I shot a few, but these people were in a terrible situation, and it felt a bit exploitative, but on the other hand it was also important,” Shane told CNN last fall. “The next day, I started photographing more, to help me deal with it—that’s how I deal with things after fifteen years as a photographer—but it was difficult to watch people going through such a life-changing moment.
It has definitely changed me—I don’t think you can experience something like that without it changing something inside you.” Shane earned degrees in journalism and German from UM. He moved to Berlin on a Fulbright scholarship following graduation and has made a name for himself as a documentary photographer and studio manager, covering issues ranging from the European debt crisis to the politics of personal identity. He’s currently filming a documentary about the LGBT-rights movement in Turkey. This spring, he’ll work with eighteen UM students traveling to Berlin to tell the stories of Syrian refugees arriving in the country.
Shane credits the cross-disciplinary education he received at UM for much of his success overseas.
“The reason I could do a lot of the things I’ve been able to do is because I went to the school that’s the beacon of liberal arts in the region, and I learned the skills I needed to keep my head above water in a city where there are a lot of photographers,” he says. “I can thank my education in German, media arts, international development, and especially journalism for that.”
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