Katie G. Nelson Talks Photography, Media, and Life with a Chronic Disease

Katie G. Nelson joins us on this episode of Inside The Photographer’s Mind. She’s a multimedia journalist with a background in photography, filmmaking, and investigative writing. Returning to Minneapolis, Nelson kindly agreed to sit down with us and talk about her experience in journalism, including the good, the bad, and the traumatic. She’s a great source for a behind scene view of what life is like making content in the most difficult circumstances. Here’s what to expect.

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Katie G. Nelson on Her Early Career

Nelson has always had an interest in social justice. Although we joke about making photographs of dogs, her photography journey began by making photographs for social organizations. Her resume includes Amnesty International, Oxfam GB and USAID. The conversation moves onto Nelson’s goal to help tell the world’s most important stories.

After living in Kenya for 12 years, Nelson returned home to Minneapolis. She had hit a crossroads and felt her time in visual journalism was maybe coming to an end. It was then that she received the call from The New York Times. George Floyd had been murdered by police, and NYT wanted someone on the ground that could help cover the aftermath of the killing. This would be the catalyst for the next chapter of Nelson’s career.

Katie G. Nelson on Working in Visual Journalism

One of the worst moments in recent American history was also one of Nelson’s highest moments, career-wise. We explored how that felt. Speaking candidly, Nelson admits that it’s something she struggles to process. Being close to home, the killing of Geroge Floyd ripped apart the community. Nelson, of course, would rather that the whole event never took place. But that’s out of her control, and her job is to do the story justice.

Nelson then opens up about the trauma she has from doing her type of work. She explains how she has PTSD from covering such heartbreaking moments in the world. She goes into greater detail during the podcast.

Katie G. Nelson On Living With Narcolepsy

Nelson was diagnosed with narcolepsy in her twenties. It’s a chronic sleep disorder that impacts things such as restorative REM sleep. This leaves Nelson feeling fatigued throughout the day, as well as experiencing a host of other symptoms. Alongside Narcolespy, Nelson is also in a high-pressured, high-energized job. She explains in the podcast how she manages to balance the two, and which one of them helps with her overall creativity.

Later in The Show

As the show progresses, we talk to Nelson about certain ethics in photojournalism. We explore what’s acceptable and what’s exploitative, reviewing how we can protect the creation of the candid frame. We also discuss society’s current mistrust of the mainstream media and talk about what role photography can play in bringing both parties closer together. Nelson will share what she has coming up in the future and share a special project she’s developing. You can hear all that and more by pressing play on the audio and video player above.

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You can learn more about Nelson by visiting her website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host of professional photographers within the industry.