Category At Work

Cover Letter Don’ts

My friends down at the Poynter Institute just read 160 applications and decided to share what no one should do in those packages. As my kids go through the internship application process, this is required reading.

I do kind of wish is was a snarkier piece, though … I’ve sat through meetings at Poynter, there are some snarky folks there …

NPPA Seeks New Executive Director

Want to help lead the largest association for photojournalists out there? To be the voice of visual journalists? Have a lot of management experience? Or do you know someone who fits that description?

The National Press Photographers Association is looking for a new executive director. Come work here on the UGA for a great association (that is independent of the university). The NPPA relocated to my college last year, so you get to hang out with me.

Or not, depending on how you think about that …

Why Some Lenses Cost $1,799

We are at that point in the year where a bunch of kids are turning in their gear and need to go buy their own. It’s a wonderful support system we have here, but it also shelters them from understanding the costs of this stuff.

Which means when they finally wander over to one of the online retailers and start pricing lenses and bodies, they … uhhh … freak out. As do their parents. And then I get the questions about how they bought a camera and TWO lenses at Costco for $449 last year, why does this one lens cost $2,000?

Well, there are a lot of reasons. The first being because those consumer level lenses are optically slow and terrible for low light situations. Second, they’re pretty poorly made. If you’re photographing birthdays and vacations, they’re great. But if you’re going to make your living off of them and use them for hours and hours every day, they’re not going to hold up.

So how are the good lenses built? Take a look at this post by Roger Cicala on what’s inside the $1,799 Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4 II lens. The care taken to engineer this piece of glass is just staggering …

(Thanks to Michael Johnston of The Online Photographer for the link.)

Finding Your Color

I have a small list of photojournalists who never disappoint me, storytellers who always make me stop and stare, ponder what they’re showing me, force me to rearrange the neurons in my brain. Michael S. Williamson of the Washington Post is on that list. For years I’ve come back to his work, to his way of seeing, to understand my world and, maybe, dip into his pool of vision.

Jim Colton has a stellar interview up with Williamson at ZPhotoJournal – well worth spending time on. It’s a long, deep read, but the advice it builds to at the end is spectacular:

I would tell young people “Don’t be afraid.” And I don’t want to hear anybody under 40 talking about their “STYLE.” Your style just comes as a result of what you love and what loves you. If you are thinking about style, I will take a bb gun and pop you in the shin…I really will. Because then you are trapped by some “LOOK” some “WAY” of the way YOU see it.

And you know something, when you’re 22, I don’t really care about the way you see it. I want you to cover the event…so I know what happened. Of course, at some point, you mix the two, you can have your vision…you can have a take on life…just don’t forget who you are working for.

Yeah, a lot of his social media images are filtered, but the core vision in them … I hope to see something so well some day.

Walter Iooss, Jr., on College Football

Nice collection of images by the legendary Walter Iooss, Jr., from his early days covering college football. This was pre-autofocus, pre-14 frames per second, pre-64 GB memory cards, pre-histogram. Old school – manual focus, manual exposure, shooting on chrome film so the exposure has to be perfect in the camera.

Ahh, those were the days …

And if you scroll down, there’s another Iooss piece with him talking about his Super Bowl photos that’s worth a look.

What you notice about the photo is the facial expressions. With those single bar masks, you can see so much more of the humanity of the game. You don’t see anything today. It’s all covered up. The other thing that’s striking is the natural light. Playing an outdoor game in daylight gives you such a sense of place. When you play in a dome in Dallas or New Orleans, it kind of sucks the reality out of the game.

(Thanks to Cody Schmelter for the link.)

How Do You See Someone?

Canon did a little experiment …

Layoffs at National Geographic

Not a good day as 21st Century Fox takes over National Geographic.

NPR Internships

Deadlines for NPR’s winter and spring internships are approaching, here’s what you need to know to apply.

Stay Off the Tracks

It happened again, another person killed by a train while taking photos on railroad tracks.

New class rule: Shoot photos on or near railroad tracks without written permission, you fail the assignment.

Grant for Projects Dealing with Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Identiy

ViewFind is sponsoring three $5,000 grants to visual storytellers to produce issues of race, ethnicity and cultural identity. Application deadline is October 9.

(Thanks to Evey Wilson for the link.)