Mizzou alumna documents social and environmental issues in Peru.
MIZZOU magazine asked Elie Gardner, BJ ’06, about her work:
Q: What was your transition like from your newspaper staff job to becoming a freelance journalist?
A: The first year was a challenge. I entertained the idea of teaching English, becoming a barista, really anything to return to a steady paycheck. Thanks to the encouragement of other freelancers and my husband and business partner, Oscar Durand, I stuck to shooting and co-founded Inti Media. I’ve learned to believe more in myself, trust my skills and be more patient. Today I’m happy to be a freelancer, but I didn’t get to this point without some growing pains.
Q: What drew you to South America and Peru specifically?
A: Since I was young, I have been interested in speaking Spanish and loved the vibrant culture of Latin America. I studied abroad in Costa Rica and always dreamed of returning to Latin America. I chose Peru because of the country’s economic rise, strong presence of foreign nongovernmental organizations, and plethora of social and environmental issues. I saw these as indicators that I would find work here as a freelance photojournalist. The amazing food is also a nice bonus!
Q: What one thing did you learn at Mizzou that has helped you most in your career?
A: I remember being told more than once that by becoming a better, more well-rounded person I would become a better journalist.
Q: Did Nuñez Del Arco and his group break the Guinness World Record for most the most people practicing Full Body?
A: As far as I know, Nuñez del Arco still awaits official confirmation of the Guinness World Record.
Q: Has being a teacher of multimedia storytelling helped you become a better storyteller?
A: I would like to think so. That said, I learn by doing. Knowing and teaching the theory of something is very different than intuitively putting it into practice in the field. I can say that in the past three years as a freelancer, I have become a better teacher.
Q: If you could have your favorite CoMo dish mailed to you in Peru, what would it be?
A: Tough question, as I have a few favorite CoMo dishes. If I had to narrow it down to one, I’d take phat thai from Bangkok Gardens with a spice level of 3. And can I throw in a few Siam Village rolls, too?