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Picture Story: Reflections from a dark room

6 years, 9 months ago blogging, grad school, photography 0
[picture coming soon]

I spent much of the last week hiding in the back of a dark room watching pictures go by and listening to someone announce “Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. In. Out. Out. Out.”

Yes, it was the best week in photojournalism at the University of Missouri – CPOY judging week.

We saw thousands of images in singles, stories, portfolios and multimedia presentations get voted out of the running to be considered the best of the best, with only about 1% of entries making it through to the second round of judging. A handful made it to the finals, winning awards of excellence and the coveted gold, silver, and bronze awards.

For Picture Story class, I made sure to sit in on the picture story category and an entire day of multimedia sessions. Each has to deal with the issue of storytelling in an effective manner, either through single images or a multimedia presentation. The two categories, while quite different in presentation and final product, have very similar requirements for what constitutes a winning project.

First, they both need to have a solid story. Moving, compelling, heartbreaking, joyful, and intimate were just a few of the words used to describe the stories which ultimately won in each catetgory. A project could have beautiful images, but if there is no story to support the photographs, the judges voted it out. I saw many stories in the first round that I would have voted in just on looks, but the judges saw past that and knew the story may not live up to the visual skill.

Alternatively, even when the imagery was not quite as technically adept as the other entries, a story went on to the next round if it moved the judges. I saw this in the final Multimedia category, in which there were three very polished video-based projects from the News21 program and one individual story “The Great Wide Open” about an adopted boy and his unique family situation. The adoption story was pointed out numerous times by the judges that it did not stand up to the same polished look as the other three stories, yet it won a bronze award because of the intimacy and unique storyline presented.

The judging of the categories was quite harsh, with the panel voting many entries out within only a few images, never quite reaching the end of the photographer’s edit. In picture story, I didn’t mind it so much. It was quite obvious whether or not a story was strong because we could see all the images presented as thumbnails together. Although we didn’t get the captions for all the stories, we could see if the visual story was strong.

However, in the multimedia judging, all I wanted was to see the second round selects in their entirety before voted into an awards round. The judges only watched maybe 30 seconds of the project until they got to the final rounds. While I agree that we should not have to watch the entire project due to time constraints, I think that there were a handful of projects that were voted out just because the intro was more than five seconds. One of the projects I really wanted to see in its entirety was “Growing up Girl”, which was voted into the first round of selects, but cut before the awards of excellence round. Although I agree that the beginning was a bit cheesy or TV-esque, I really wanted to see how the photographer took their winning photo story and turned it into a multimedia piece. There was so much that I thought could be expressed with audio and video and we didn’t get to see it because the judges were so caught up with the introduction.

What does this mean for the next generation of picture stories and multimedia pieces? I’m not sure. Every year is so different, yet so similar. It’s hard to know if your work will rise above the rest, because you can’t know what the rest will look like. I think that the most rewarding part of this competition is watching the work go by and listening to the judges make their remarks about the winning (and non-winning) work.

And hopefully, I’ll be able to use this new perspective in my work for the coming year. All I want is one ‘in.’ They’re worth more than gold.

MPW.62 – Macon, Mo.

6 years, 10 months ago blogging, grad school, photography, travels 2

Words cannot describe how I feel about the Missouri Photo Workshop. This year was my third, and I know deep in my heart it will not be my last. Perhaps my photos of the day can maybe begin to explain it.

day253 :: year four

day254 :: year four

day255 ::year four

day256 :: year four

day257 :: year four

day258 :: year four

day259 :: year four

Thank you, Macon, for being so receptive to us. And thank you to everyone who makes the workshop run. May it continue for many more years to come.

Pizza and light.

6 years, 11 months ago blogging, food, photography 3

I like to photograph dinner.

In doing so last night, I had a moment of zen about light.

100918_pizza_01
Overhead. (6400 ISO, 70mm, f/4, 1/90 sec.)

100918_pizza_02
From the side. (3200 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec.)

Each frame has a similar exposure – not exact, but similar. I had to go to f/4 and increase the exposure by about 1/2 stop on the overhead to get the surface of the veggies sharp. And the 1/125 was a little too dark so I brightened it up about 1/2 stop in post. But still. Look at the difference in the light. The pizza did not move, nor did the lights.

Which do you prefer?

There’s no place like home…

6 years, 11 months ago blogging, photography, travels 0

day211 :: year four

I could use some ruby slippers right about now. And a conch shell to put sound to this image.

Also, if anyone invents a story idea detector, please let me know.

EPJ: Index page

6 years, 12 months ago blogging, classwork 0

This is the second class that will hijack my blog this semester. Please keep in mind that this is a technical class and we have certain requirements with the assignments. They may not be the most beautiful yet – it’s just practice for us to learn the details of HTML, CSS, Flash, etc.

So.

Here’s the link to my first assignment, the index.html page, written in basic HTML.

http://www.erincarly.com/epj

Aaaaand, we’re back!

7 years ago blogging 1

day203 :: year four

After a long recovery period from the latest site hack, I’m finally …

Wait, website hack, you ask? Didn’t you just have one of those in January?

Yes. Two site hacks in six months. This one was a doozie – supposedly Palestinian hackers. Everything was lost. My backups were too old. But thanks to Google reader and web archives, I was able to re-build (okay, Scott was able to re-build) about 90% of the content. Only a little bit was wonky, and was easily fixed.

So, I’m back. And I’ve got a spiffy new website.

Lesson of the day?

Back everything up, often.

We came, we saw, we covered: APME 2009

7 years, 9 months ago blogging, grad school, photography 0

Last week seems like a blur.

One minute I was running around my apartment making sure I had A. enough clothes and B. all my photography equipment while trying to finish up a Fundamentals project, go to class, attend meetings and apply for next semester assistanships. [more on the Fundamentals project later.]

Then I found myself driving out to St. Louis, checking into the hotel, and starting coverage of the APME conference via Twitter and through photos.

Whirlwind doesn’t even describe it. Not quite frantic, but definitely intense and fast-paced. From one session to the next, our team blanketed the convention with coverage for those members who could not make it this year. It’s a shame they didn’t – the sessions were fantastic.

Wednesday night, I was scheduled to cover the opening reception at the City Museum.

APME2009_068
The place is incredibly beautiful – and massive. This is just the first floor area. There’s so much more. I can’t wait to go back.

APME2009_043
There was a tank with turtles. Lots and lots of turtles. They got a lot of attention throughout the night.

APME2009_081
A joke was made about being able to brag about attending a conference where they served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, in light of the current economic landscape of the news world. The really did serve little sandwiches.

APME2009_178
No reception is complete without a silent auction. The best part was the live auction, when the caller was trying to get people to bid on a $6,000 vacation. See above photo caption for irony.

Then Wednesday, I photographed two other sessions, the Associated Press Report and the APPM’s Community Journalism and Innovation.

APME2009_APReport_108
Members of the audience reacted to the playing of Julie Jacobson’s video and audio diary of the situation when she took the controversial photo of the injured Marine who later died.

APME2009_APReport_150
The panelists watch a presentation on some of the AP’s most innovative and exciting storytelling work.

APME2009_APPM_005
In the APPM session, attendees were asked to write out the core principles they believe in as journalists.

APME2009_APPM_022
Yes, we even watched a segment of The Colbert Report to illustrate just how far the Commercial Appeal’s story on public records (gun licenses) went. The clip is at that link.

So yeah. It was a blast to cover, and fantastic to meet some inspiring people. Don’t listen to those naysayers out there. Journalism is NOT dead – it’s just changing.

And from what I saw at this conference, there’s a bright future ahead. We just need to make sure we can get there.

The beginning.

8 years ago blogging 0

This blog starts at the beginning of grad school. My previous blog has some of the content that appears here from Aug-Dec ’09, plus a bunch of older things that may or may not be of interest. That content will live there, not here. This is my new start.

This is the beginning.