Category : photography

Picture Story: High School Heeler, revised.

9 years, 5 months ago classwork, grad school, photography, projects 0

You’re not seeing double. I’m reposting this with a slight re-edit of the images for class. I haven’t looked at this story in a while, and I do think that this edit is a bit stronger. (And who can resist a neon-yellow horse cake? Really!)


Sophomore Tanner Brundage looks for his mother’s car on Sept. 16, 2010 outside of Jefferson City High School in Jefferson City, Mo. This was the last time his mother needed to pick him up at the end of the day, as today was his 16th birthday. Immediately after school, he took and passed his driver’s test.


While typical high school boys are involved with the traditional team sports offered by their school, such as football or baseball, Tanner competes in team roping for Missouri High School Rodeo and cowboy mounted shooting with Show Me Mounted Shooters. He began riding horses almost four years ago, and discovered roping after some of his riding friends started lessons with Mark Jobe, a roping instructor in Jefferson City. Many of the teens who compete in Missouri High School Rodeo grew up in rodeo families, but Tanner’s family has only recently been involved. “We’re kinda the rarity,” his mother Kim said. “We’re not the only ones, but most have been doing this forever.”


After spending the afternoon competing about six inches of mud, Tanner takes a hose to clean off the tack on his 12-year old horse, Cochise. His friend and neighbor Macy Randolph, 13, patiently waits for her turn, as her earlier attempts to gain control of the hose led to Tanner dousing her with water. While high school rodeo is not an organized team sport, many of the teens in the Jefferson City area practice together.


Gary Kueffer, right, holds tight onto the rope around the calf’s horns while Tanner attempts to catch its heels during an open team roping session at a small family rodeo on Saturday, Sept. 11 outside of Vienna, Mo. The open event allows combined teams of varying ages, letting teenagers compete with the more seasoned adults. Tanner prefers to compete as a heeler, which he says is the more challenging position in roping. He said that according to Mark Jobe, Tanner’s instructor, “You need to be a better roper for the heels, and a better horseman for the head.”


In honor of Tanner’s 16th birthday, his mother Kim ordered a cake made out of cupcakes to bring to roping practice on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010. “It’s supposed to be his horse,” she said about the conspicuously bright depiction of Cochise.

Picture Story: Some of my likes.

9 years, 6 months ago classwork, grad school, photography, projects 0

Some of these may make it into the final story. Some may not. But I like them for what they are.





Picture Story: Introduction

9 years, 6 months ago classwork, photography, projects 0

day303 :: year four

Meet Sheila. She and I will be spending a lot of time together over the next few weeks as we get acquainted and I work on telling her story. It’s got all sorts of twists and turns, as every day she’s on the brink of losing her home. It’s a challenge, but I think a very worthy one. And she’s super nice, which always makes working on a project a pleasure.

I really look forward to exploring her world.

day304 :: year four

Backlog: A howlin’ good time

9 years, 6 months ago mi amigos, photography 0

day287 :: year four

We went to a Halloween party on the Saturday night before the holiday dressed as cowboys. Rebecca Wolfson (yes, that’s her real last name) took her costume to the next level, with a little help from a professional body painter.

The transformation was incredible.

Picture Story: Reflections from a dark room

9 years, 6 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.

Backlog: Homecoming

9 years, 7 months ago photography, politics 0


Best part of the Homecoming parade – Robin Carnahan almost taking me and my camera out while I was trying to take some fun photos of her marching and interacting with the crowd. Well, actually, I believe she ran the entire route. This is the result.

“Oh, hi!”

And for our next adventure …

9 years, 7 months ago grad school, photography, projects, travels 4





And the countdown to November 15th* begins . . .


[*Which is when I will start stalking my phone and email incessantly to find out if I’ll be a White House intern for my master’s project.]

Kelly Schultz: The Triple Threat

9 years, 7 months ago classwork, photography, politics, projects 0

The FinalCut presentation of the photos and audio interview for my character on Kelly Schultz will go here shortly. It’s rendering on Vimeo.

In the meantime, here’s my favorite photo from the entire project.


Ahha! The video is finally done. Please note – this is NOT a final but a work in progress. I do not like this presentation as completed here. The audio will be re-edited, and maybe the photos will be re-sequenced. It is only posted because it is a class requirement.

Kelly Schultz: The Triple Threat from Erin Schwartz on Vimeo.

U.S. Senate candidate debate: Missouri style

9 years, 7 months ago news, photography, politics 2

I had the pleasure of photographing the U.S. Senate candidate debate today out at the Lake of the Ozarks, featuring Democrat and current Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Republican and former U.S. Congressman Roy Blunt, Constitution party candidate Jerry Beck, and Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine. Needless to say, Carnahan and Blunt stole the show.







This was my first national race debate, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to photograph more. Come 2012 election, I’ll be ready.

(Click on the pictures for captions.)

MPW.62 – Macon, Mo.

9 years, 7 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.