Searching for emotion

Like many other people in the class, I struggled with the emotion assignment.  Emotion is such a difficult thing to capture.  While attempting to find a moment to take a photo, I realized how often people hide their emotions.  Feelings are considered private, and people rarely show on their face exactly what they are thinking.  As a result, when capturing emotion I felt intrusive.  When someone opens themselves up to you, if feels wrong to permanently capture that moment with a camera.  After taking photos of a variety of people, I decided to take pictures with my friend’s sister, Rachel.

Rachel has a very strong personality and I think this improved my photo.  She is very dramatic about the way she reacts to situations and this comes across in the photo.  Although I captured an emotion, it is an emotion that is uniquely Rachel.  Most people would smile and eat their fresh baguette, but Rachel rips off a piece and eats it with an expression of ecstasy on her face.    Her open mouth, closed eyes and hands communicate the joy she feels eating a fresh baguette.  Rachel displays her emotions prominently and her strong feelings are clear in this photo.

Another thing I appreciate about this photo is the light.  I felt the colors provided a sense of warmth, with the warm light and colors in the photo.  The scene and the lighting communicate the idea that the photo is in a café.  The pictures on the wall and the seat behind her all provide a sense of place.  Looking at this photo, I feel these aspects are clearly communicated.  However, I wish the frame would have captured another element to share these details.  Something like a coffee cup would have furthered the message of the photo.

From this class, I have learned many things about photography.  Although I doubt I will ever have to take another photo in my career, in public relations I will undoubtedly deal with a photographer at some point.  When I decided to take this class, my reasoning was that it would help me understand the difference between a good picture and a bad picture.  As we finish our last assignment, I feel that I have accomplished this goal.  Along the way I have also improved my photography skills in ways I could never have imagined.  While this particular photo is not my favorite that I have taken, the sense of joy Rachel communicates echoes the joy I feel about having truly improved over the semester and learned a new skill- photography.


Playing with food for an illustration

Although the illustration assignment initially seemed difficult, I was able to develop an idea fairly quickly.  While I did not wait until the last minute to complete the assignment, my idea took shape while I was reading a book for another class.  I was eager to distract myself, and in my efforts to think about something else, I remembered a story I had read in a magazine about staying healthy during the holidays.  Discussing the idea with my roommate, I attempted to find a way to illustrate the concept and mid-conversation the idea to use a plate of Thanksgiving food on a scale was established.

This assignment was one of my favorites for many reasons, not only because of the delicious food that came out of the illustration.  I enjoyed the abstract experience, the opportunity to construct meaning.  In a way, the assignment is like a puzzle.  The photographer must construct the puzzle in a way that makes the message clear so that the viewer can put the pieces together.  This assignment was more than capturing a moment; I had to organize the scene.

For this assignment, I did not use photoshop to illustrate my photo.  I have not had a lot of experience with photoshop, and while I did consider adding a different background, ultimately I choose to leave the simple white background.  However, I did attempt to add a background, but ultimately decided the picture communicated the message more efficiently by taking advantage of simplicity.  The detail within the scale and plate contrasted against the white background enhances the photo.

While I did not gain experience with photoshop through this assignment, I enjoyed the opportunity to find other ways to communicate the message naturally.  Doing so provided an exercise in creativity in a different way than using photoshop.  Rather than learning how to photoshop in a Thanksgiving napkin, I went to SIX different stores to find a napkin that was satisfactory.  This assignment also helped me develop my culinary skills, something that I truly needed.  In addition, I never knew about the knob that allowed me to reset the scale.  Photojournalism is always teaching me things that have nothing to do with photography!

After taking the picture, I wish the white balance would have been corrected.  The white background is somewhat yellow, and the color could be more clear.  However, in some ways I think the color adds to the Thanksgiving feel.  So the color is not horrible, although it still could be improved.  Additionally, the scale is a little off center in the picture.  I should have noticed this problem and corrected it when photographing.  Ultimately, I feel the photo was a success, if only because I had a delicious meal on Saturday night.

Behind the scenes at a school

For the person at work assignment, I was able to visit my mom who is a teacher at McCluer North.  However, while I initially thought teaching would be an interesting subject, the photos did not turn out well.  So, I decided to take photos of roles within the school that are not the most visible.  While the secretaries, custodians and librarian provide the resources for the teachers, their jobs are often overlooked.  For this assignment I decided to highlight these crucial roles within the educational system.

In addition, photographing these people allowed me to take pictures in the school without taking pictures of the students.  Students at the school are easily distracted and would not have benefited from having someone take pictures in the classroom.  I tried taking some photos and I stopped after I realized that the students were not focusing on the teacher’s lesson.  Perhaps with better students, I would have taken better pictures.

My favorite picture from the assignment was the photo of the custodian Vic.  In the photo he is cleaning Dr. Metropolis’ room, who is a teacher at McCluer North.  I enjoyed this photo for many reasons.  Although it is a complex photo, I feel that the subject is photo is clear.  Additionally, the details enhance the photo, setting the scene.  His custodial cart and the classroom scene behind him make it clear that the photo was taken at a school.  All of the color adds to the photo.  The mural on Dr. Metropolis’ wall enhances the photo but does not distract from the scene.  Elements combine to communicate the message of the assignment.

Although I like this photo, I wish the lighting was better.  McCluer North has no windows in any classrooms and the lack of natural light made the assignment difficult.  The fluorescent lighting darkened the photos.  However, I attempted to color correct the photos so that the colors would come through.  Once again, lighting has a huge impact on a photo.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the person at work assignment.  While it was more challenging than expected, by choosing a variety of jobs, I felt I was able to capture something unique.  The photos may not be the most fascinating pictures, but they truly capture the assignment- photographing a person at work.

Learning about sports

Sports assignments somehow manage to be both the easiest and most difficult assignments.  Some aspects are unbelievably simple: finding names is never a difficult task, spell checking names is extremely simple and essentially you can wait for the subjects to come to you.  However, the actual process of photographing the game is more difficult.  Even with a telephoto lens, sometimes you are just too far away and miss a great moment in the game.  Additionally, watching the ball requires concentration.  In soccer, when the players are constantly moving, it can be difficult to track the progress of the ball across the field, especially when you have little knowledge about soccer.

Of course sports photos have the same problems as general photojournalism.  Right when you have the camera set up and something exciting is happening, the coach decides to walk in front of the camera.  And chairs and water bottles are strategically placed to ruin numerous photos.   Over the course of the game I took about 300 photos.  Looking at the photos, there were a number that I liked, and many that make me wonder what I was thinking when I took the photo.

While I like all of my photos, I don’t know if I love any of them.  I am not sure they capture the emotion of the game.  However, this could be because the game itself wasn’t particularly emotional.  SLU won the game 5-0, so the game was not particularly intense.  Although the players obviously were involved in the game, it definitely wasn’t a “nail biter”, as my father would say.

Of all the photos, the picture of George Washington’s Philip McQuitty (19) struggling to take the ball from Saint Louis University’s Nick Maglasang (14), may be one of my favorites.  Although the photo itself is not phenomenal, both their expressions and positions indicate the theme of the game.  Throughout the game, George Washington struggled in vain to keep the ball from SLU.  The faces of the players capture the emotion of the game.  Both players display an intensity and focus that captures the feelings presented by both the players and the onlookers during a game.  Even when the score is 5-0, the players still show effort on the field.

I wish I would have captured more color in the photo, it is a little dark, but I don’t think it is horrible.  I struggled with color correcting this photo.  While others color corrected in a way that clearly enhanced the photo, these color corrections did not seem to help.  Perhaps with experience my color correcting skills will improve.  In fact, the same can be said of my sports photography skills.  With experience, I am sure I will improve.  Perhaps I will learn more about sports in the process.

Taking Feature Photos

Taking pictures at Boo at the Zoo was more difficult than expected.  The even began at 5:30, so I needed to take pictures quickly while the sun was out.  Luckily, the light I did have was perfect for taking pictures.  As a result, I enjoyed this assignment purely because it encouraged me to do something I would not normally do.  Although I have been to the zoo many times, if not for photojournalism, I would have never attended Boo at the Zoo.

Looking at the photos later, I was pleasantly surprised.  I have noticed that the photos that look the best on the camera do not always look the best on the computer, and this trend continued.  However, now that I know how to color correct on Photoshop, I looked at the pictures in a new way.  The photo I have chosen was not one of my favorites initially.  But after examining the photo on the computer, I decided to give it a chance and consider it.  After eliminating most of the pictures, I color corrected some of my favorites, and after toning the photo, this was one of my favorites.

Bringing out the color in the photo helped me truly see the picture.  Once the coloring was better, I could filter out all the elements of the photo and see the pieces that make it work.  Obviously, the costumes are hilarious, but Batman’s smile is absolutely amazing.  The pop of red in the other superhero’s outfit adds color to the otherwise dark environment.

In addition, color correcting helped me accentuate the amazing light in the photo.   Photographing Boo at the Zoo provided me with fantastic light, and I think that is seen in the photo with the colorful trees in the background.   Ultimately, although this photo was not initially one of my favorites, I have come to appreciate it thanks to the power of color correcting.


Overall, I enjoyed the feature assignment that I shotover the past weekend.  Working on the assignment, I was inspired to go to places and events I would not have normally attended.  Over the course of the weekend, I went to the park, the zoo and the Chaifetz arena to capture feature photos.  Although I have been to the zoo many times, this particular weekend the zoo was celebrating “Otteroberfest.”  I had no idea the event was occurring but I had a great time at the event.

However, my favorite photo was one I shot at the Chaifetz arena.  The story behind the photo was extremely touching.  During the event, I witnessed some of the basketball players interact with Joshua, and while I was unable to capture that moment, I enjoyed capturing his interaction with his mother in the photo.  Although the composition may not be the best, the moment is a key point of the photo.

Overall, I like the photo because of the story behind it.  I wish I would have been able to capture Joshua interacting with the players, but most of the interactions apparently went on behind the scenes in the locker room.  However, simply watching his face during the practice was more than enough for me.  The photo reminds me of the importance of photojournalism.  Not only can photos tell a story, but they can also persuadepeople to act or feel certain emotions.  Photojournalism helps tell a story in a way thatwill inspire someone.

Taking a Portrait

When I initially examined the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, I expected portraits to be one of the easier assignments.  However, in class we learned that was not going to be the case.  Yet I still expected that the assignment could not be terribly difficult.  After all, during portraits, the photographer is able to pose the subject and discover a way to create the message.  Nevertheless, after my experience creating portraits this week, I realized that portraits are much more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

Over the span of the weekend, I took more photos than any other assignment.  I tried taking photos of people I knew, photos of people I approached on the street.  Taking the photos was difficult, without knowing the person it was difficult to capture their personality within the photo.  Portraits are meant to capture the soul, and doing that with someone you do not know is difficult.

Of all the photos I took over the weekend, my favorites were the portraits of my roommate Kayla.  We know each other well, and it was easy to attempt to capture her carefree personality.  I also managed to take the photos when the light was best.  The lighting, her expression and clothing all combine to create a great photo.  I felt her expression in this particular photo captures her joy.

Looking at the photos, the quality of light and the simple background all help the photo succeed at the purpose.  Although the background is beautiful, it is not so elaborate that it distracts from the subject.   In addition, her bright shirt and the orange pumpkin draw attention to her, making the focus of the photo clear.  The quality of light enhances the photo and brings out the colors.

Although portraits are difficult, I am pleased with my photos.  I feel I managed to capture Kayla’s personality using the colors and quality of light.  This class has taught me that good lighting always makes a huge difference in a photo.



June 2018
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