ASSIGNMENTS: Observe, Watch and Read

A couple of things to be working on … as discussed in class, I’d like you to find a place to camp out for 60 minutes and watch what happens. Find a place with some foot traffic, people coming, going and interacting – that’s key, there needs to be some sort of interaction to watch.

Record everything you witness – what people are wearing, body language, moments big and small. Do they seem anxious? Happy? Lost? Did they come in alone and meet someone? Did they come in with someone and leave alone? Think about how the place intersects with the people.

Please do a running time log on this to give you some ideas on how things progressed and hand write it – there’s a lot of evidence that writing out notes by hand encodes them deeper in your brain and makes the notes themselves more meaningful. (You can usually type quicker, so you tend to transcribe and not process/assess information.)

Bring a typed printout to class on Wednesday, January 23.

Next, you need to log in to (which you can do through your UGA account for free) and watch the David Hobby series The Traveling Photographer: The Basics. Total time to watch all the segments is 2 hours and 19 minutes, so make a lot of popcorn and take notes.

Why am I outsourcing you to Well, Hobby is probably a lot smarter than I am, particularly when it comes to travel work. I went through this series over break and took pages of notes. So I could rework all of them into a presentation or I could just have you go to the source. There are tons of tips in here that will help you as you prepare for your projects and the workshop.

From your notes, pull out your Top Five Tips and be prepared to discuss them in class next week. They can be anything from research to technical to travel preparedness – there isn’t anything in that series that isn’t relevant to our work this semester.

Lastly, please take a read through this interview with Tamara Reynolds. I’m going to send you to lots of interviews and profiles this semester, take what you can from all of them.

ASSIGNMENTS: Updated Deadlines

All deadlines are at 5 p.m.

  • April 4 – Doc Project: Second look (five photos)
  • April 9 – Doc Project: First listen (30-60 seconds of sound, an audio trailer)
  • April 11 – Essay Project: Final edit
  • April 18 – Doc Project: Final edit

ASSIGNMENT: The Woodall Weekend Workshop

On eLC, you’ll find four folders to drop images into.

  1. The Top Five: This one has a deadline of Tuesday, March 27, at 5 p.m. and is for the Top Five images from your weekend. They can come from the Places, Faces or Project assignment and should work as individual images.
  2. The Place: These are the images that represent the Place of Greene County – anything from landscapes to images that represent how the citizens exist within their community. Minimum of five, no maximum. (Due at 5 p.m. on April 1.)
  3. The Face(s): These are the Faces of Greene County – the people you’ve met outside of your primary story, the characters that constitute the community. Minimum of five, no maximum. (Due at 5 p.m. on April 1.)
  4. The Story: This is your primary story, delivered in three parts (Due at 5 p.m. on April 2):
  • The Multimedia Story: An audio slideshow featuring your images and audio you recorded during the weekend. This is the primary storytelling device of the weekend.
  • The Images: This is an edit of the photographs for your story. It can (and probably will) vary from the images in the audio slideshow. Think about how images in a gallery or layout would work together. (Expectation is 15-20 images here, but that’s not a hard-count.) Captions matter. Make sure they are at full resolution, JPG format and compressed into a folder.
  • The Narrative: To work online or in print, you will need a short (350-500 word) written story. You can use quotes from your audio interviews where appropriate – this is essentially a basic news/profile piece. (Word format only.)

Project: What Unites Us

I seem to be spending a lot of time on The Washington Post’s web site this morning … in January, they did a project that involved having seven photojournalists interview and photograph people in all 59 states asking one question: What unites us?

The result is a massive gallery of portraits, text and audio files that they broke down into some general themes. (Recommendation: hit up a couple each day to get inspired.)

They also put up a short behind the scenes type piece about how the project was done.

Sense of Place

When we talked about the Places2Faces assignment, I mentioned that it was inspired by Michael Williamson of The Washington Post. He has a new gallery up that looks at a 7,200 mile journey along the Mississippi River and it is all about the sense of place he specializes in.

Think about how he uses light, color and space in his images, look at how they all have a level of human connection in them in either the physical or emotional presence of people. These are the details and broad strokes you should be looking for in Greene County next week.

And, really, in every story you tell.

Editing for Impact

This has nothing to do with what we’ve been working on, but it has everything to do with impactful storytelling. As you work on your doc, workshop and essay projects, think about how your images will work together – what leads to what? How does a character enter a story? How does a viewer explore them? How do you transition from one scene or location to another?

Grants, Projects and Research

Jennifer Meyers write a little about how she used the Mylio Grant to begin a project on forgotten homesteads.

The images are interesting to those of us who are interested in history and older structures, but read carefully about how she decided on the locations and the research she did.

Even after long drives to meet with history experts and local residents, I was surprised that the majority of time spent on this project involved online and library research.

That’s one of the key elements to a successful photo story or photo essay – you must have a deep understanding of the story you are trying to tell, not a superficial one. It’s like interviewing for a written story – if everything you know is in the story, you don’t know enough, you don’t know what doesn’t belong in the story.

On Creatvity

This piece from Photo District News on Claire Rosen’s book Imaginarium is worth some time, even if just for this one quote:

Our culture has shifted in such a way that it’s easier to be a consumer of content rather than having individual experiences.

Think about that as you work on your stories this semester – what can you show that can’t be seen elsewhere? There is no point in making images like everyone else, the distribution model is such that you can’t compete with everyone with obvious imagery, you have to go where others are not.