Paul Hellstern is a native Oklahoman and has lived in Edmond since it was a college town of 10,000. He graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma) with degrees in both History and Philosophy. Picking up a camera for the first time after graduating, he attended three semesters of Journalism classes, working part time in the Photographic Services Department at CSU. He then was hired as the photographer for the Edmond Sun, where he worked for a year before being hired at the "Daily Oklahoman" in December, 1981. Two years later Paul was hired as photographer for the Kerr-McGee Corporation, where he worked for two years before returning to the "Daily Oklahoman". He has won two Oklahoma Press Association awards for "Photo of the Year" and one for "Photographer of the Year", as well as numerous 1st place Associated Press awards. Paul has photographed every type of event from college football championships to disasters such as the Murrah Bombing, the May 3rd 1999 tornado, and Hurricane Mitch in Honduras. It was there that he developed a love for the Latin American culture and people, and has since made more than 20 trips to Central America.
Nate Billings never planned to become a photojournalist. He took pictures as a hobby growing up and worked as an assistant for his father, a commercial still and video photographer, but chose to study English Literature in college. Billings did not consider photography as a career until he was offered a summer internship at The Oklahoman in 2000 while working as the photo editor at Oklahoma State University's student newspaper, The Daily O'Collegian. He stayed on at The Oklahoman when offered a job in the fall, saying he would keep working in photojournalism as long as he was having fun. And, he still is. Billings graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla., and earned his bachelor's degree from OSU and his master's in English from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Steve Gooch has been a photojournalist in Oklahoma City for more than 30 years. His coverage of news, features and sports assignments has taken him across the state and country. Growing up in Oklahoma City in the 1960s & 70s, everyone knew a local naturalist/herpetologist named Bob Jenni, who would make TV and public appearances all over the state. Gooch was always fascinated with the way Mr. Jenni could handle alligators, rattlesnakes, cobras and many other animals. He had dreams of becoming a herpetologist, however, his mother had a strict "no snakes" rule. So, photography was Gooch's career choice. He took photos for Northwest Classen High School's yearbook and newspaper, studied photography at the University of Central Oklahoma and worked at The Oklahoman on a part-time basis. In 1979, he wanted to start taking photos like you see on Navy recruiting posters (FYI-never trust a recruiter named "Speedy"). After three years assembling and testing underwater mines instead of taking pictures, he moved back to Oklahoma City as a photojournalist and has worked for The Oklahoman since 1982. Gooch enjoys keeping and photographing pythons as a hobby, and his images have appeared in national and international reptile magazines.
Graduated from UCO in 1979 with degrees in History and Philosophy. Returned for three semesters in Photojournalism. Worked for the Photographic Services Dept. at UCO in 1981. Went to work for the Edmond Sun from May 1981 until Dec. 1981. Began at the Oklahoman in Jan. 1982 and worked there until June 1983. Worked as a photographer at Kerr McGee Corporation from June 1983 until May 1985. Have worked at the Oklahoman from May 1985 until the present.