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Category : blogging

Flashback: Year One

6 years, 6 months ago blogging, photography, projects 1

day 001
The very first Project365 photo.

Project365 was meant to be a one-time deal.
One photo a day for one year.

Before I started my own attempt, I saw so many people fail. In fact, I hadn’t seen anyone successfully complete the project until I was already about halfway through. (Whereas anyone = other participants in the Flickr group Project365.) Since that time, I’ve completed four full years and have started on the fifth.

I’ve recently started a much-needed project archiving all the captions on these photos, starting with Year One. I was naïve about the internet and photo asset management back then, and I only entered the captions on Flickr. With the recent closing of an old blog site (vox.com, run by SixApart) and the [allowed] loss of all my content [that I chose not to back up for personal reasons], I realized that I could potentially lose all context for the photos on my project if Flickr decided to shut down and I didn’t back up the captions manually.

In backing up these captions, I essentially re-lived every day of 2007. My brain hurt. And my heart hurt. It reminded me how long a year really is, no matter how fast or slow it feels when in the present. But most of all, I saw something in myself that I didn’t know existed. Buried among the weeks and months of technically low-quality photographs (compared to my standards now), there were gems of brilliance. I saw what I see in myself now – a photojournalist, trying to make sense of the world one picture at a time. One who wants to help the public remember that life is beautiful, even among the hardships we, as humans, endure.

I’ve always considered myself a photographer. It’s nice to know that my gut was right.

Check out Project365 :: Best of on Flickr. Right now it’s only selects from Year One. It will eventually grow to contain the best of all years.

Wishing I were outside.

6 years, 6 months ago blogging, photography 0

day031 :: year five

So I’ll post a photo from outside. I’m currently killing some Strep bacterias while resting on my couch, or I’d go sit out in the park across the street.

Springtime, please come fast.

Another from New York

6 years, 6 months ago blogging, photography, travels 0

day020 :: year five

New York is just so busy. So crazy. So many things going on. So many memories. So many characters. So many lives. I feel like this photo has a lot of that all balled up into one.

Made me miss the small town feel of Missouri.

Just for a minute.

What you lookin’ at, Willis?

6 years, 6 months ago blogging, family, photography, travels 0

day020_yearfive_outtake_8354

I went to New York this weekend and rode the express A train uptown for the first time.

So of course, I had to take a picture of our operator.

Wintery activity.

6 years, 6 months ago blogging, photography 0

day014 :: year five

Funny, because it was over 40 degrees. The rink was packed. I wanted to simplify.

110130_Skating_01

110130_Skating_02

(An homage to Josh Bickel.)

Whatever you call it, it was nasty.

6 years, 6 months ago blogging, photography 1

day010 :: year five

“Thundersnow” was most rampant. “Snowmageddon” also appeared, but not quite warranted compared to last year’s blizzard. “Commute from hell” was likely most accurate.

At the time of this photo, I had no idea that it would be five more hours until I could walk through my apartment door. I felt on top of the world with my 35/f2 and semi-water resistant D700. Strangers told me to get my camera out of the snow. I laughed and told them it had been through worse. (Three days of thunderstorms while camping at a burning man-esque event only made a piece of the rubber housing come loose.)

More snow photos to come soon. Cliché, I’m sure, but snow makes every gritty city look beautiful.

Right?

The end is always the beginning.

6 years, 7 months ago blogging, photography, projects 1

day365 :: year four

E Pluribus Unum
(Out of Many, One.)

I’ve never been good at completing projects. But today, I’ve now completed my project365 for the FOURTH time. Four years of photos. Four years of memories. Ups and downs, moves and new jobs, beginnings and ends. Life goes on, and so does this project.

Tomorrow, we start Year Five. May the next year of photos be as challenging as the last. And may the next year of life be as amazing as all the ones past.

Bring it on.

Re-discovering the District.

6 years, 7 months ago blogging, photography, travels 0

Or, in other words, getting very lost in semi-familiar places. Photos found along the way.

day355 :: year four

110106_LEnfantStairs

110106_LEnfantVRETrain

Return.

6 years, 7 months ago blogging, grad school, travels 3

day336 :: year four

It’s amazing how fast time flies by, even as the days feel like they’ll never end.

A year and a half ago, I packed up my life (and Scott’s, too) and moved to Columbia, Missouri to embark on a brilliant adventure called grad school. Little did I know how attached I had grown to our comfy apartment and to spending hours on end in the photo lab (and Missourian, for that matter).

Perhaps it wasn’t the structures that felt like home, but the people contained within.

We’ve arrived in Arlington, and I’m quickly realizing how disconnected I feel right now from that camaraderie I was enjoying just weeks earlier. My brain is still in grad school mode, caring more about journalism, photo nerdery and finishing my degree than what most of the people I see around me are caring about. I almost feel like I’m not quite ready for the real world, not quite done incubating.

Good thing my internship at NPR starts on the 10th of January, and the Washington program shortly thereafter. It’s time to learn to fly on my own!

day338 :: year four
Welcome home.

Picture Story: Did these photographers expect to become ‘prominent?’

6 years, 8 months ago blogging, classwork, grad school, writing 0

A PSA for all my photojournalism friends writing theses this coming semester:

Please do not turn your thesis into a book unless it’s got unicorns and rainbows in it.

While I appreciate the hard work in researching and writing a thesis, academic writing does not make for a riveting read. Loup Langton, if you’re out there, many apologies. The work is thorough and excellent, but it’s really hard for me to write a blog post reaction to a very extensive academic chapter on the history of photojournalism. I feel like these reactions are to be something that maybe clicks in our heads that make us realize “oh! so that’s why I feel this way when XX happens” or “glad I’m not the only one who does XX.” With this chapter, I felt like I was being inundated with the entire history of photojournalism in just 30 pages.

There were some key points I flagged, including the importance of technology that pops up in almost every age of photojournalism. Boiling the history into one congruent chapter made the discussion of technology appear as a thread to tie all of the different events and changes together. From wet plates to flash bulbs to color film and eventually digital, technology was either the result or the cause for some major changes in the history of photojournalism.

I also took note of the addition of women and minorities into the field, which in comparison to most other changes, only happened very recently. I thank my predecessors for paving the way for kids like me to get into this industry and stand toe to toe with male tradition. Even today, I’ll find myself covering a sporting event and find that I’m the only woman photojournalist on the field or court. (In full disclosure, I named the new laptop I bought for graduate school ‘Margaret’ in honor of Margaret Bourke-White.)

Speaking of Ms. Margaret, I learned something I did not know when reading Chapnick’s chapter on the photographic essay. I knew she was considered the first woman photojournalist, but I did not know that it is believed she published the first true photographic essay. Granted, the photos are not what Chapnick considers documentary by modern definitions, but still, it seems as though the intent was there.

I thought this chapter was going to be very much like Langton’s, recounting historical photographers whom have been studied to extreme lengths, but the last page or so held a nice surprise. While not exclusive or exhaustive, I really appreciate the list of attributes for a successful photographic essay or story. Not every story needs to have every one of these, but to see the basic tenets of storytelling in one place is nice. I may write this list out more simply and put it on my wall.

Chapnick ended with a statement that I think has a strange choice in words.

“The serious photojournalist cannot afford to ignore this photojournalistic format if he or she aspires to prominence through publication in either magazines or newspapers of the world or, in that most perfect vehicle for individual statements on larger issues, photographically oriented books.” (p. 38)

Yes, on one hand. But not all of us want to be ‘prominent.’ If my name doesn’t end up in a history chapter written by people like Langton or Chapnick, that’s fine by me. I just want to share and record life, with the hope that my photographs help others in ways otherwise unreachable.