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Sports Behind the Lens: Kindell Buchanan

By: Mallory Morrow

Edited By: Kylie Augis

Women in sports hold many important job titles. Photography is a key component in the sports world and Kindell Buchanan, sports and music photojournalist, embodies everything it means to work in sports behind the lens. I had the opportunity to meet Buchanan at the Women in Sports Conference hosted by Girls Club and Living Sport. I am so glad the conference brought us together, and now I get to write this blog featuring who she is and her work.

Buchanan grew up playing volleyball as well as running track and doing one season of cross country in college, but said she did not always want to work in sports. After graduating in 2009 from Hardin-Simmons University with a bachelor’s degree in mass media/photo and design, Buchanan said she moved to Nashville, Tennessee with aspirations to work as an audio engineer in the music industry. She quickly realized she actually wanted to work in sports after working her first photography job shooting high school football for a local news website.

“After that first season, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in sports photography,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said she currently does multiple things for work. She is the production manager for Collegiate Composites, shoots high school and professional sports for a local newspaper, shoots freelance work like covering races and shoots editorial (sports and music) for various photo agencies.

Buchanan said one of her favorite games to cover has been an NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Buccaneers because it was so close which made it very memorable for her to cover. Another game she enjoyed covering was an MLS game between Nashville SC vs. St. Louis CITY FC. She said this MLS game was amazing because she happened to get one of her best photographs ever.

“Hany Mukhtar, reigning MLS MVP, scored a hat trick and he happened to celebrate six feet in front of my camera so I got one of my favorite shots ever,” Buchanan said. “It was so much fun.”

Even with all of the amazing moments in Buchanan’s sports photography journey, there have also been challenges. She said while shooting she has run into a few male photographers that were unkind. Despite the few unkind photographers and typically being one of the only women, Buchanan said she has met many fellow photographers that are uplifting and the field is evolving in a positive direction.

\Buchanan has great advice for women that want to work in sports. She said to find what you are good at and run with it, be nice to everyone no matter how they treat you, always stay ready to learn and remain confident.

“The more you practice your skills, the easier it is to walk out on that field knowing you belong there, so that when anyone tries to make you feel like you shouldn’t be there, and they will try, you know they are wrong,” Buchanan said. “You worked hard for it and you earned it, so own it.”

All photos Courtesy of Kindell Buchanan

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