retriever weekly

Fall 2014 -- Newspaper Review

It feels like the start of the semester was only yesterday -- but indeed a very long and rough yesterday..

Now is a great time to recollect and review my work for the school's newspaper.  I'm glad the newspaper is part of my life, giving me odd opportunities and events to document.  Recently talking with an alumni of the newspaper, I've recognized that I must make the most of my remaining time at the newspaper and college.  I might never have the chance to do it all over again when I'm older.

Initially, I was remarkably enthusiastic for the newspaper, following the plethora of bike thefts with my camera.  I felt like a pseudo-photojournalist -- trekking around our small campus, meeting and interviewing folk, and taking their photographs.

I think I enjoyed shooting related assignment's the most.  Similar to my photojournalistic thoughts above, I felt as if I was on sort of mission; sort of like a longer term goal.

Gradually, as the semester lingered on the newspaper (in my opinion) started to slow-down.  I would submit photographs that would not be published in the newspaper because the actual article was never written.  Similarly, I was frequently in the dark about what the article I'm shooting for was about.  Often, subjects would start telling me factoids and information, and I would pretend to write down what they were telling me (to seem respectful, ya know?).  Alas, I'm not a writer, so whatever ideas I did manage to capture would never become ink on paper.  Submitting my weekly photos were akin to throwing hail-mary passes or putting messages in bottles.  Seeing my photographs published became a pleasant surprise rather than an expectation.

I, myself, became unmotivated as the semester progressed.  The photo manager, recognizing my work was decent, would occasionally spring special assignments and opportunities on me, but I ended up declining most of them as I had school work or some similar mediocre reason not too shoot them.  It was difficult to fit in more than one assignment per week with my schedule.  In retrospect, I wish I shot them as whatever I'm learning in school isn't really making me feel any more enlightened.  I ended up taking mugshots headshots of a handful of frequent newspaper writers to be used as avatars/buddy icons.  I really wish I took more time to pose and work on composition for those photos.  They're just simple headshots, but that was a missed opportunity for honing my dull and possibly chipped sword.

I would choose the easier articles to take photos of in an attempt to make my life a little easier.  Obviously, I strayed away from anything sports related because microfourthirds, in particular the OM-D E-M5, blows at focusing on anything in motion.  Slowly, but surely I began to pick up my initial pace.  Around Halloween, I ended up shooting two casual photobooth-type-things and had a blast doing it (maybe I'll write about them, not really newspaper related).  Photography was fun and interesting again.

Additionally, talking to Josh Sinn at the Film in Baltimore meetup (posting soon) was really inspiring.  He reminded me how unique this experience was, and how much say I actually have over these assignments and images.  Looking through his work, he has a lot of documentary style photographs -- the kind where you forget you're looking at a picture and feel you're there in that very moment (he does a superb job with depth of field and out-of-focus-areas).  I absolutely adore this style of photography; it inspires me to shoot better!

I have so much room to improve, but needless to say, I'm excited for the future.

I desperately have to improve on my interpersonal skills.  Pressing the shutter release will only take me so far.  Additionally, I need to start a consistent post-processing style to what I submit.

Oh, and my official label will be Senior Staff Photographer, too.  Maybe now is a good time to look into business cards?