A New Perspective / Through the Windowpane

I developed this series of images for an assignment in my digital photography class last year, although I consider it a multimedia endeavor.  I am particularly proud of it. I feel as though it’s the first time I was really able to break through and convey very real emotions through my work. Gordon Harkins, my photography professor at Susquehanna University, congratulated me upon its completion. “You have entered the world of ‘fine-art’ photography,” he wrote in my critique. Here is my artist’s statement.

As I enter the age in which I could become a mother myself, I often wonder about the lives my parents had before they brought me into this world. With this collection, “A New Perspective / Through the Windowpane,” I sought to live that experience, incorporating the knowledge and feelings I’ve gathered for my family thus far in my life. These are slide photos of my family that were taken by my father at various points in time, most before I was born; I projected my kin into rooms that, for their own special reasons, reflected my thoughts on the original subjects. See their lives from a growing child’s point of view.

Note: Photos have many dark values and may be better viewed on high-definition screens for more shadow details.

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The Photog-Journ

Where have you been all summer?

Photo by: KOURTNEY GEERS/The Patriot-News

Quick musings on my current profession

It’s really strange having a job I enjoy.

I can easily work 10- or 12-hour days and come home exhausted but not completely miserable. I don’t even dread the next day. Ever.

In retail, that’s just life. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but retail sucks. Work as a writer isn’t any less emotionally taxing, though it is less strenuous. But I deal with many more angry people at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Perhaps that’s it.

It’s a good sign that I can see myself as a writer for years and years. But this school year, it’s back to retail.

What is photojournalism?

I can write, report and edit a story. Essentially, that makes me a journalist.

I can take interesting photos with some level of technical quality. Essentially, that makes me a photographer.

But combining those skills, telling an entire story in one shot? Capturing the emotion, the pain or joy of an event, in one shot? I just can’t do that.

I take photos for news and features, sure, so I guess in a technical sense I’m a photojournalist.

But the reason I hesitate to classify myself that way is that I just haven’t got the qualities, however vague or un-pinpoint-able they may be, that make some one really shine in the field.

It’s like how mom’s artsy, black and white, shallow depth of field photos of the patio furniture could technically be called photography. Yes, she took a photo. It might even be visually pleasing. But there’s no spark.

Smearing acrylic around on a canvas makes me, technically, a painter, because I painted. But even if I make pleasing art, I don’t have that je ne sais quoi.

So, I’ll go with photographer-journalist. Two separate skills, living in two separate worlds.

Sure, with plenty of experience and help from my mentors, I can learn to combine them. Philosophically, though, I struggle with the idea.

I’m so attached to words that to think about telling a story in a snapshot makes me uneasy. A photo and caption just can’t do it justice.

And even though the art is meant to accompany the story, not supplement it, I know just as well as any other journalist that most of you don’t read much past the lede.

So, is a photojournalist someone who can tell a story in a compelling way with an image? If so, then I think I can get behind that.

But there’s a certain point where photos start to cross into the realm of sound bites, where we see one image, or hear one line, and let that represent the entire story. That’s where I struggle.

I guess I’m not ready for the pressure yet.