Two Down, One to Go: Student Work Roundup

At the end of every semester, the deluge comes in: semester-long projects, last minute reshoots – they all flood in. They come on my class server, by CD and flash drive. In the last week alone, I have ingested 8 gigabytes worth of images, audio and video … the little iMac in my office was really looking forward to this weekend, after having pulled two over-nighters compressing video. 

But it’s worth it … I think … as two of the Documentary Photography projects are now in the wild. The first was a look at Rural Health Care issues in the counties around Athens, done in collaboration with Prof. Patricia Thomas’s graduate Health and Medical Reporting class. Students tackled everything from aging to gangs in text, photos, audio and video. Considering only two of my students had ever shot video seriously before this semester, the results are pretty amazing. Spend some time with those stories.
On Friday, I built and released the second project – A Day at UGA: One campus, one hour, one story. This was a joint effort with Prof. Valerie Boyd’s class and is fairly close to a dreaded “day in the life,” but man … some of these stories just rock. My sixteen students worked on profiles with the sixteen students in Prof. Boyd’s class, but that left eight hours uncovered … so my students paired up and did eight more. 
We’ll launch one more project next week – and it’s huge. I’m hopefully these sixteen students realize what they’ve accomplished this semester. It would have been very easy for this class to become a technical class – shooting HD video, editing in Final Cut Pro, refining audio – but they never once looked at it that way. During our weekend workshop in early March, when they were struggling with the tech stuff, they did not waste time with editors asking about those problems – they talked about their stories. 
And that, to me, is what this class was all about. Stories. 

Mark E. Johnson

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