thanksgiving break

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This thanksgiving break was much needed rest, but I actually got a lot done at the same time.

I started a photo project about my cousin, Cate. The idea came to me during the Missouri Photo Workshop after talking to MaryAnne Golon, a photo editor from The Washington Post. I had a portfolio review with her and she mentioned how I really need a photo story in my portfolio along with my singles. After the week of MPW I was well aware, but it was good advice to hear. I’d been stuck on coming up with a feasible idea. I have ideas in my head for stories but no subjects and not much time with such a busy school schedule to devote to a side-project. She asked me about my personal life and the things I’m interested in.

Your family is in Kansas City – do you love your family?”
“Well, yeah…”
I had to laugh because it was such an odd question that I’d never randomly been asked before.
“I ask because I always tell people to do a story on the things they love,” she replied.

Immediately it was like having a “brain blast” moment from Jimmy Neutron.

The biggest news in my family is that my cousin is unexpectedly pregnant. She’s a year younger than me so she’s experienced a lot of change over the past year, including withdrawing from school so she can work, getting engaged, and moving in with her fiancé, all on top of the bodily changes of pregnancy.

I called her immediately after my chat with MaryAnne to talk to her about the idea, which she agreed to.

I finally got the chance to start the project on Thanksgiving night.e20161124_Thanksgiving_079.jpg

This is the first time I saw her pregnant, and she’s 8 months along!
The photograph above features her fiance, Dustin, to her left and her two sisters and my brother to her right gathered around, feeling her baby bump. I thought this might make a good addition to the photo story since it shows the fascination our family has with her pregnancy.

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I think this image is one of my favorites from the weekend. Dustin is kissing her baby bump, which he does quite often just casually during conversation, which is what is happening in this photo because Cate is laughing during a conversation with two of her sisters and her dad. I think it captures their relationship well, and we’re in a casually situation hanging out in their living room in their apartment while some of her family members sees the apartment for the first time.

These next two are from her parent’s house. I like how the background displays how religious her family is. Cate comes to her parent’s house after work on some days to relax, catch up with family and watch tv since her fiance and her don’t have cable in their apartment. She’s usually exhausted after work since she works at a country club cafe that requires a lot of bending down.

I have more photos but these were my favorites so far. I’m excited to go home for break and actually have time to continue this project!

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Super moon & uploading failures

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The photos above are of the super moon! There’s a million photos going around on social media of the super moon. I always find it interesting when the rest of the world takes a small sliver of interest in photography at times like these.

I took a traditional photo of the moon that most everyone else took as well, but I decided to try something different, as well. I used a 300mm lens, the first image is cropped in a little but the 2nd isn’t cropped at all. I think the second image does a good job of showing just how big the moon was since I used it to silhouette the branches and leaves hanging from the tree in my front yard. I also tried lighting the leaf with a flashlight but the light wasn’t bright enough to illuminate the leaf enough, and since it was a 300mm lens that I was using, I could physically reach the branch at all because it was too far away.

I’m happy with my photos and it was fun to try something new that not everyone else was doing.

In other news: I’M PISSED. I have no one to blame but myself, but I had photos on my camera from this past Friday on my memory card that I thought I uploaded onto my computer then proceeded to format my memory card.

Luckily, they weren’t anything important, just personal. If it were for work or a freelance assignment this would be a million times worse. The photos being personal is also the reason that the formatting-without-uploading situation probably took place because I’m extra careful with any photos that are for publication or a purpose. I double and triple check that I’ve uploaded all of those and nothing went wrong in the uploading process because if not, I’m screwed.

The photos I lost were from a photojournalism bonfire I had in my backyard in honor of my friend Haney coming back in town for the weekend. It was a different take on some bonfire photos that contrasted some I took a while back that are featured on my blog. It featured more personal interactions rather than environmentally-focused photos.

Losing those photos makes me realize that even though they weren’t for any other purpose other than capturing memories, they were still important. It’s fun and memorable to capture the faces of the amazing people I surround myself with and am so thankful for. Those types of photos are the ones I think I’ll look back on and really remember what it was like in that moment.

Hopefully this was a lesson learned.

 

 

 

Women in Photojournalism

This week I wanted to take a break from my posts around photography to discuss this article on gender inequality in photojournalism from Time that has really troubled me recently.

It breaks down the gender gap into numbers, and lays out the facts of the hardships of being a female photojournalist.

Seeing this is so disheartening. Over the past year especially, I’ve met and gotten to know so many amazingly talented women photojournalists, when previously my main role models in the industry that I had interacted with had been men.

I didn’t realize until I met so many women how similarly we felt in newsrooms: how much harder we felt like we had to work to make our voices heard and to prove ourselves; how much subtle and overt sexism we’ve dealt with from colleagues and subjects; how much we had observed and just taken and not even talked about for fear of being whiny.
This conversation that took place with the women photojournalists my age brought on this project that was created during our time at the Missouri Photo Workshop.

 

It’s made such an impact on me to hear these women’s stories. It makes me feel powerful as a woman to know I am not alone. It makes me feel powerful as a woman to use my femininity as an advantage in my work. Yet I am also concerned about the future I have in this career based upon systematic issues that have created and continue to create problems for women.

The study referenced in Time’s article talks about how women photojournalists tend to be more educated than the men, as well as more tech-savvy, yet are still paid less or employed less overall. It then quotes photojournalist Melissa Golden as saying, “Is it because, on the whole, we’re not as good at aggressively marketing? Asking for what we’re worth? Determining what we’re worth?”

I identify with this. From a young age we as women are told to accept what we’ve been given, to not make a scene, to be polite, to agree to conditions and don’t make a fuss. I think this conditioning makes it easy for women to be taken advantage of in a multitude of situations, whether intentional or not.

Though we have these situations working against us, I think that if women photojournalists band together we will have a better chance. I’m trying to stay optimistic and hopeful for the future. I think it’s becoming more and more acceptable for us to discuss problems of sexism and call it out when we experience it. I think women bring a valuable presence to the newsroom and the workplace, and I am in search of an employer that sees, respects and values that presence.

iphoneography

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Oh the iphone… I’m in a love hate relationship with camera phones, for sure.

Mostly, I love to see what photographers do with their phones when taking pictures, but I hate how everyone who owns a smartphone in this world automatically thinks they know the beginning stages of photography. Just because the rule of thirds pops up on your screen (and you know what the rule of thirds is) doesn’t mean anything.

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As for myself, I love how easily accessible it is to create a photograph in the instantaneous moment that I have a vision for a photo (depending on the lighting situation and how the quality will be in an iphone photo). It will never compare to a DSLR but it’s a nice piece of technology that i take for granted at times.

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All the photos in this post are from my iphone over the past week. As I said above, it can be handy to have a camera at your fingertips, but I think it’s made me a lazy photographer at times. I often wonder how different things would be without iphones and how that would change me as a photographer. I think it would force me to shoot more and probably come up with better photographs because the quality would be better. A DSLR versus a camera phone gives you a lot more options, as well. You can adjust the exposure of your image in a more drastic means, change your focal length based upon your lens rather than sticking to a wide length that your phone gives you, and the size of your image is much larger.

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On the other hand, camera phones are great for inconspicuous photography. Since everyone has one, no one thinks much of it when you pull your phone out. The candid moment isn’t shattered in an instant by the photographer’s obvious presence with a DSLR. After a while people get used to the camera and aren’t thrown off by it or putting on an act for you, but this isn’t an obstacle when you just use your iphone to capture moments quickly.

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I like the idea of using the camera phone while on assignments, but not for the final piece, just for social media purposes. It’s a nice way to introduce your audience to a small piece of your story without much production effort and the turnover time is instantaneous in an age that requires instant information, especially in instances of breaking news.

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It has its advantages and disadvantages but whether I like it or not, the camera phone is here to stay.