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Summit Daily brings photography back with new hire

The Wyoming Press Association's 2016 Photographer of the Year, Hugh Carey, joined the staff of the Summit Daily News this month, resurrecting a position that hasn't existed at the county's only newspaper since 2013.

"I feel extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time," the 31-year-old said of his hiring. "For a photographer's position to actually be created, as opposed to being laid off — most newspapers are getting rid of photographers now — this is the first I've seen in my entire journalism career where a photographer's position is being created."

Hiring a full-time staff photographer is part of an overhaul of the Summit Daily newsroom that's aimed at producing more visually arresting journalism, according to editor Ben Trollinger.

"As a freelancer, Hugh helped us with our series on Colorado ski deaths," he said. "We were blown away by his photos. They just added so much to the quality of the story-telling. A reporter recently left her position for the Front Range and I saw it as an opportunity to bring on Hugh full-time."

“The first thing readers look at is the photos. If you have a strong photo, that will help make the article stronger.”Hugh CareySummit Daily photographer

For Carey, the job's a chance to dive deep into all that Summit County has to offer.

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In the past, he has been recognized for his photos in the sports and news realms, and for his photo essays, in which multiple images are used to tell a story visually.

Carey said he especially likes telling in-depth stories, bringing issues to the surface and getting people talking. He also cares deeply about the environment and hopes his work can help others see the world in much the same way he does.

"I enjoy taking photos of the natural world," Carey said. "That includes wildlife, mountains, water and ecosystems, and bringing it to the surface, putting it in front of readers. That's one of the reasons I'm in Summit County — I get to work in journalism and shoot beautiful aspects of the natural world."

Carey is no stranger to the mountains or the great outdoors. He grew up in Montana, studied photojournalism at University of Montana and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2010. In school, Carey worked with the university's student newspaper, a daily publication, for three years, first as a staff photographer and later as the photo editor.

Additionally, he completed internships with the Missoulian in western Montana, the Deseret News in Salt Lake City and MLive's Grand Rapids Press in Michigan before taking a full-time gig with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in Cheyenne. That's where Carey won top honors among the state's newspaper photographers in 2016.

"The first thing readers look at is the photos," Carey said of his role at the paper. "If you have a strong photo, that will help make the article stronger."

With almost 15 years of experience, as an amateur and as a professional, Carey has shot photos all around the world. On his website, HughCareyPhoto.com, are some of his best images from New Zealand, Central and South America and Alaska.

Born deaf, Carey is also fluent in American sign language, and in 2009, at 23 years old, he was chosen to photograph the 21st Summer Deaflympics in and around Taipei City, Taiwan.

Despite his disability, Carey has few problems communicating vocally. Between hearing aids and his lip-reading abilities, Carey can understand and speak to just about anyone.

"I've read lips as far as I can remember," Carey said. "If someone says a word or calls my name behind my back, it's not like I'm ignoring them. I have to be face-to-face to communicate because I hear 50 percent and lip read 50 percent to gather what you are trying to say."

When he's not on assignment, Carey enjoys skiing, riding his bike and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

"I'm excited to be a photographer in this community because there is so much that should be covered visually," he said.