Author Mark E. Johnson

Geek Alert: The Best SD Cards

Yeah, this is pretty geeky … how do you choose the best SD memory card? Kimber Streams at The Wirecutter has the answers.

(Thanks to Michael Schwartz for the link.)

Lighting 3,000 People

Yes, you read that right – Gregory Heisler shot last week’s cover of Sports Illustrated featuring 3,000 Bostonians at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. And he lit it.

How do you decide on the quality of light for 3,000 people?

When you work with light, you have the ability to completely set a tone and a mood—people have all sorts of associations with different kinds of light that are often completely unconscious. We think of certain kinds of light as uplifting or depressing or sad, just like in music: pieces in a minor key make you feel kind of sad. This was all about being in a major key, where it was happy and uplifting and upbeat and bright and fresh and sparkling and felt like a new dawn, without actually saying any of that.

Heisler is one of my heroes.

The Intern’s Plan

We are just days away from freedom the end of the semester and that means a whole new grip of kids are heading out the door, ideals in hand and ready to rock their first internship or job. The vibe in the Photo Cave is a mix of shear fear at finishing up their final projects and overflowing enthusiasm for what comes next. Probably a lot more of the former, but there is a little of the latter … well, this one kid over there …

Bob Borson, who has nothing to do with visual journalism but who you should be reading, posted at Life of an Architect about the interns and young employees at his firm. There is some sound advice in there.

So, new employee or summer intern, how are you going to survive and impress? How are you going to convince them they made the absolute right choice?

Choosing How to Expose

It’s the end of the semester and most of my kids have gotten exposure down – they’re making conscious choices about ISO, aperture and shutter speed and why certain combinations work for certain things. But it takes a lot of work to get them here …

If I were to send them this piece by Michael Johnston over at The Online Photographer early in the semester, I wonder what would happen

Maybe I’ll use that in the fall.

By Us, For Them

Two pieces floated through the ether to me this morning. The first is a personal essay by the Boston Globe’s John Tlumacki, reflecting on his coverage over the last year of the Boston Marathon attacks and subsequent recovery. His work on the recovery of the victims is just as strong as the work he produced last year – work that, in my mind, deserved a Pulitzer Prize this year.

I needed to be here today, to relive all the photographs that haunted me for the past year.

But the difference now is I have the strength to be able to go back and not feel afraid, or guilty. I know that the Corcorans are now my dear friends, and it makes me proud to know that my photographs showed the terrible toll that terrorism did to such an incredible family.

The second piece comes from the SeattlePI.com’s Jordan Stead as he reflects on the coverage of the Oso mudslide that has taken, so far, 36 known lives. Here’s what resonated with me:

The photographs I made while covering the Oso tragedy are not for me. They weren’t made for my portfolio, to win awards or to sensationalize. Those first two days, I made pictures with an effort to humanize the victims of the tragedy — not to belabor the damage or to scoop other news outlets.

I do, however, take some issue with this:

In times of great sadness, tragedy and personal loss to others, a journalist’s job is to clearly, accurately and respectfully report the story to an audience, keeping dignity at the forefront. While “clearly” and “accurately” smack of journalism school requirements, “respectfully” is often passed over.

I don’t know what experience others have had in their university programs (or even if he’s tying respect to journalism schools), but I do know that here my kids get the message that what we do is a partnership between subject, journalist and reader – that respect is high on the list of priorities, balancing the needs of those we report on and those for whom we report.

We are human, what we cover affects us. It affects us as members of our community and as individuals, we must have ways to deal with those emotions. I’m phenomenally proud of the work my colleagues here at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication have done over the years to ensure we do talk about the emotional and psychological impact of what we do.

Over the last few years, through the McGill Symposium for Journalistic Courage, we have brought Tlumacki, Carolyn Cole, Eric Gay, W.A. Bridges, David Handschuh and Jeff Roberts to the building to talk about the impact their wok has had on their readers and themselves. Tlumacki and Roberts, in particular, brought the room first to silence and then to tears – brash students and hardened faculty members, emotionally overwhelmed.

Just this semester, we have hosted the Ochberg Society for Trauma Journalism with a display and panel discussion and, tomorrow, have Jessica Handler here to talk about Writing Through the Tough Stuff.

Visual journalism isn’t about cameras, lenses, post-processing or even just being there. It is about people, it is about telling stories that matter for your community and to your community.

Local Talk on Covering Grief and Loss

The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is hosting Jessica Handler on Thursday, April 17, for a luncheon talk on covering grief and loss.

It’s free and there’s pizza, why wouldn’t you want to come?

Making Something Great

Sometime tomorrow, the Boston Globe will release a documentary on five runners who did finish last year’s Boston Marathon – and this could be amazing. For those in New England, it airs on NESN tonight at 9:30.

Reporter Geoff Edgers and multimedia producer Darren Durlach were simply told, “Just make something great” by the Globe’s editor, Brian McGrory.

I hope it is.

The Story of Bliss

It’s going to be a stormy week here in Athens, so for all of you who have ever fired up a Windows XP machine, here’s the story behind the iconic wallpaper.

The Camera as Companion

Preach it, Dave LaBelle, preach it.

Why can’t I say things like that?

More Info on Business Practices

Alum Dylan Wilson sent along a link to a post by Robert Seale on business practice for photographers, a very good read.

Towards the end Seale has a list of books you must own, I’ll add one more that’s due out this summer – John Harrington’s More Best Business Practices for Photographers. Harrington talked about this book at the NPPA’s Northern Short Course last month and I’ve already preordered it. This is not an update but a new book and it will have a stellar section on the mechanics of registering images with the copyright office – that alone will be worth the $25 for you.