My name is Kaw Kleh Wah, but I go by K.K. I am 20 and came to Oregon from a Thai refugee camp 8 years ago. I live in Southeast Portland with my mom and dad, two younger brothers and a little sister.
This summer I worked with the Communications Office at Multnomah County as a photographer through the SummerWorks program.
I learned a lot about photography and journalism.
Taking pictures has been a hobby of mine, and I photograph events for the Karen community - that’s the ethnic group that I belong to. I never learned about how the camera works or about composition, and when I went to events I didn’t know what I should take pictures of. And I never thought I would have the opportunity to learn about journalism or writing stories.
I am a shy person and don’t feel comfortable talking to strangers. After doing this internship, I learned how to ask questions about things I didn’t know anything about, interview people I had never met, write articles. It made me more outgoing.
I had the chance to go to many different events during the summer. One of my favorite was the Portland World Cup. I play soccer with a group of other Karen girls and I really wanted to go. But I had to work at my internship. Luckily, my editor asked if I would go and take pictures of the tournament, so I got to watch the games and had fun while working.
When I was taking pictures, it didn’t even feel like work. I felt like I was having fun with the camera, and learning.
I also learned how to edit photos. First, it was hard to understand the Lightroom software. But it got easier as I edited more and more photos. I also learned how to edit audio using a free program called Audacity.
The hardest part was when I had to write stories, because I am not really skilled at writing. But I received a lot of help, and I was able to finish the stories successfully, including one about the soccer tournament, and another about a woman who came to Portland alone as a refugee when she was 18.
Now that my internship is over, I’m getting ready for college. I plan to start classes at Portland Community College this fall and study social work.