Monthly Archives: October 2009

Photo stories are easier to edit when they’re not yours.

11 years, 1 month ago grad school, photography, projects 0

day270 :: year three

Almost midnight, Monday.

This week’s (well, and last week’s too) project for Fundamentals was the classmate project. [cue scary music] We picked names out of a box for a round-robin style photo assignment, where I photographed someone, they photographed someone else, who was photographing someone else, and so on.

The goal?

Tell this person’s story. Whether it’s a literal ‘thing,’ like the significance of this one kid’s blue shoes, or a feeling, as with the adjusting period of some of our international students, we needed to convey the story in picures. It’s a lot harder than it seems.

My story was about Christie, a stretched-thin sophomore taking 19 credits and being active in a sorority and three other volunteer groups on campus. I wish I could have had another week to work on the project, but I lost that due to MPW. More situations in which to take photos may have brought a bit more variety to the images. But we learn from each assignment, and I hope to carry that across to the next big story project, our final.

Here’s my opening image.

day267 :: year three

Editing was tough. I knew I wanted certain photos, but filling in the holes was near impossible. I found myself attached to certain images, but tossing them aside for something that told the story clearer or was better technically. Eventually, I went back to the entire take and found some overlooked gems that ended up in the final edit.

But looking at my classmates’ projects, I could easily see what worked and what didn’t. I knew what I wanted to see to drive the story that the photographer didn’t necessarily have. This time, I was a bit more vocal in the critique, making sure to ask “what’s the story?” if it wasn’t inherently clear. Usually I’m on the quiet side, as our critiques are often much more lenient than I would be if left to my own devices. Today, I felt it appropriate to ask that simple question and make those critical observations. I hope my comments helped.

Maybe I am good at this editing thing. But only when the photos aren’t mine.

Procrastination: An always current art.

11 years, 1 month ago grad school, photography, writing 0

I don’t know why I’m procrastinating so much today. Maybe it’s the 32 hours + of gloom and rain we’ve had here. (Although I believe it has stopped raining now, it’s still pretty gloomy.) Or perhaps it’s because I’m in the middle of reading an article for my Mass Media Seminar class that’s so over my head, I don’t know half the words it uses. See sentence example #1:

“West argues that the epistemic skepticism found in some strands of faddish deconstructive criticism and the explanatory agnosticism, or nihilism, associated with the work of descriptivist anthropologists and historians have made the “categorical mistake” of collapsing epistemological concerns of justification in philosophy into methodological concerns of explanation in social theory.” (Kincheloe, McLaren. “Rethinking Critical Theory and Qualitative Research.” p141.)

Ummm, yeah. Maybe we should look at some pictures I’ve been meaning to post instead.

day252 :: year three
An outtake from my “Interaction” project for Fundamentals. I didn’t show it because you can’t really see either face, but there’s just something I like about it. Maybe it’s the angles? Or the idea of a hairdresser being an unsung artist?

day250 :: year three
These are some of the single images I submitted to CPOY this year. I doubt I’ll win anything, but at least I’ve entered. Next year though, watch out. I hope to have some stellar work.

Okay. Now that I’ve been productive in my procrastination, I’m feeling like I should be productive on some school work first. But where to start . . . the paper about MPW this year? Reading more dreadfully scholarly articles? Or maybe re-writing my lit review question to actually reflect what I wanted in the first place? (I’m hoping to research agenda/image setting through a question about the White House photo office.) Or figuring out the specifics on my ethics term paper topic? (Image manipulation and where the ethical line stands, something like that.)

:: sigh ::

I agree. Let me barrel through this reading. Only a few more pages to go on this one and three more interesting (hopefully) articles after that. Then I’ll write fun papers.


MPW.61: Adventures in Festus and Crystal City, Missouri

11 years, 2 months ago grad school, photography, travels 0

I promise, blog readers – I’m not neglecting you. This last week was full of extra work to get ready for my adventure with the Missouri Photo Workshop. I’ll catch up on my outtake from class assignment #2 and my CPOY entry once I get a chance. Until then, on to MPW!

day257 :: year three

(This is an evening session. We are watching a cool presentation by Rick Shaw on the POYi contest.)

And what is this MPW thing? As coined by Phoebe Sexton (a graduate student a few semesters ahead of me), it’s “Photo Nerd Camp.” To others, it’s a week of intense storytelling photography and lack of sleep. To all, it’s an immersion program that documents stories of a different small town in Missouri every year and is now in its 61st year. Phew!

I went last year and told a story about a “Band of Brothers” and their mom, all dealing with the life change of dad working in Iraq for a year driving trucks.

This year, I’m working on the vortex team, where we ingest all the photographers’ photos, rename them, and put them (via LAN!) onto the team computers for review with the faculty members. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of downtime, too. Thank goodness – I’ve had a lot of reading to do in preparation for writing two papers, one due Monday and one Tuesday.

day258 :: year three

(Not sure who wrote “face.”)

We’ve also been having quite a bit of fun around all this work. Here’s a few more photos of the fun stuff. The entire set can be seen here.


day256 :: year three