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Josh Birnbaum

Josh Birnbaum

School of Visual Communication | Ohio University | Class of 2008

If the name rings a bell, you might have seen it before in The News-Gazette — in tiny type under one of the photos Josh Birnbaum snapped as a UI undergrad.

“I was pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering during my time at Illinois, all the while pursuing a career in photojournalism on the side. I had to hustle by getting my problems sets and research done, while also working at the local camera shop and photographing assignments for The Daily Illini and The News-Gazette,” says the 2008 grad.

Now a lecturer at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, Birnbaum has a lot of instructors to thank for his post-Illinois success.

But one in particular stands out.

“The professor who supported me most in this side-hustle career change was School of Media Professor Brian K. Johnson, who graciously took me under his wing and allowed me to do multiple independent studies with him over the years.

“His guidance of one of my big projects eventually led to that project being published as a book with the University of Illinois Press.

“I also took photo classes in the art school and am forever grateful to professors Luke Batten, Linda Robbennolt, Ernie Scott and Brad Hudson. They took a chance on me and it changed my life.”