Covering the Winnipeg floods early on in my career in 1996.

After 28 years of being a photojournalist, it is time for me to hang up my press pass. I started my career on the Atlantic Coast in my hometown of St. John’s Newfoundland working at the Evening Telegram. I then spent a decade in our nation’s capital, working as a freelance photojournalist covering news, politics and sports. The last 15 years I’ve been on the Pacific Coast in Vancouver, as a staff photographer covering national news and sports with The Canadian Press. It has been a journey, taking me to almost every corner of this incredible country telling the stories of Canadians. 

Being one of the on ice photographers for the presentation of the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins June 15, 2011.

The daily grind of national news and sports coverage has taken its toll on me.  Every story is always the biggest, with the next even bigger than the last (and you are only ever as good as the last assignment that you covered, or the last photo that you took). The schedule is always changing at the last minute resulting in missed birthdays and lots of other important life events. I have found that my love for the news business has fizzled out leaving me with mental and physical scars that led me to take most of last year away from work for health reasons.  

With that said I have enjoyed my years bearing witness to some of Canada’s biggest moments over the past quarter of a century and I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity. 

Travelling on the federal election campaign plane with leader Andrew Scheer in 2018.

With the end of one journey another begins and I am now free to pursue my passions of wildlife photography, bear guiding and covering waterskiing, a sport that I also compete in as an “athlete.” Saying this out loud always makes me chuckle because I can’t begin to compare myself to the many olympic athletes whom I have photographed over the years. This year I’m proud to have competed at the 35+ World Waterski Championships, finishing 11th overall, a result that I look forward to improving on in the years to come.   

Getting ready for the jump event at the 2022 over 35 World Waterski Championship in France.

So the future is bright. The year 2022 saw me do my first ever guided polar bear tour in Churchill, Manitoba. After several years of travelling to the polar bear capital of the world as a photographer, I decided to get my guiding licence and share my love of the polar bear by taking guests out on the land to witness and photograph these magnificent creatures.  

Keeping my eye out for polar bears along the shores of the Hudson’s Bay near Churchill, Manitoba Nov. 2022.

This was also the year that I was able to turn my skills as a photojournalist to my favourite sport, waterskiing.  My focus has been not only capturing these amazing athletes in action but also working toward gaining them media attention to raise their profile and increase sponsorship opportunities. This has become a bit of a passion project and I have high expectations of the future.  

Enjoying two of my favourite passions, waterskiing and photography along the shore of a lake near Bordeaux, France, Sept. 2022.

Well, that’s the past year in a nutshell. From time to time I may share stories from my past as a photojournalist, but for now, it is onward and upward as I launch my next venture. I hope that you will join me on this journey by subscribing to my blog…

Stay tuned for more info coming on my 2023 polar bear tours to Churchill, I promise it will be worth signing up for.  


J Hayward

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