Monthly Archives: September 2013

Evans’ Family – A father’s love

Evans’ Family – A father’s love

It’s said that a picture can speak a thousand words. And I guess I believe it. I’ve seen it before within professionals work. But I think most great examples are seen overseas, perhaps instances of war, of heartbreak or loss. I find it less often that photos speak to us in moments of love. Not particularly an overcoming triumph, but in moments relatable. This slideshow features Fred Evans a man who was given months to live after being diagnosed with Melanoma following a double lung transplant. It does an amazing job of telling a moment of his story on all accounts. Below I will address those that stood out most to me.

 

Captions. I never undermine their value beneath photographs… but what about slideshows? The words have to be carefully selective to encourage a viewer to click on the movie. This caption reads: “After learning he had just months to live, Fred wanted to surprise two of his daughters and wife with a special gift. An inspiring story of  Father’s love to his family.” I find the language delicate and not too revealing. It does not explicitly say what this gift is, making viewers want to click the movie to find out.

 

The text. Though we will not be working with text in our slideshows, the perfect amount of text appears. It is easy to read, timed well with the background music and gives us enough information to pick up right where a scene leaves off – in the church aisle.

 

The photos. They capture emotion. The photographer wasn’t afraid to show us a deeper side of the characters. There is variety between black and white photos, and while I cannot figure why the photographer chose to do some some way and others another, the attention to detail is complimented by each. The transitions are fluid as well. It acts as a story would, from beginning to end. The shots vary in depth of field and perspective as well.

 

The audio. Though it is said that natural sound catches the ears of listeners, this piece worked perfectly with the music. The photos were timed to the lyrics and its tone fit the message of the story. I think natural sound would have interfered with the story the photographs were telling. It called for further attention to detail. That sometimes its not the things we say that have the biggest impact on our lives, but the things we do.

The combination of emotion and careful placement of photos and music allow for a remarkable story to be told. It picked at a detail of Frank Evans’ story and told it in a way that made viewers focus on a message and the sights before them.

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“I Killed a man.” A YouTube Confession Gone Viral

Step 1. If you haven’t watched the video already, you should.

Through class, I have learned the importance of having a vast variety of media forums. The basic ones are familiar, but some I find applicable yet underestimated. One of which is YouTube, a website designed in 2005 for video-sharing: uploading, viewing and commentary. Though started by a group of former PayPal employees, the medium is widespread, reaching a large audience and fairly simple to navigate.

I have reason to believe the the size of the audience and the easy accessibility YouTube has provided the perfect place for Matt’s confession.

The video, which starts off with an adapted voice and pixelized video, is unique and draws viewers’ attention to the words being spoken, rather than to physical characteristics. If listened to closely, Matt, the confessor himself, acts as his own whistle blower, speaking about lawyers who told him he could get off with no charges after killing a man while driving drunk one night. Though there have been claims that the apology is not sincere, as it was scripted, the words chosen were done so with care, each meaning something and adding to the story.

The video translates into reality at just the right moment. The change away from pixelation and voice adaptation fits right with Matt’s personal introduction.

I think the decision to solely include Matt, opposed to other visuals, perhaps on the crash or the deceased, puts a spotlight on one man’s story/perspective.

And it was timely, as just days after the video got its millionth hit he was arrested. And he followed through with pleading guilty.

This story highlight was in particular fascinating because Matt is just an average boy. It is conflicting because it is both tragic and heroic. The video lets you decide for yourself.

YouTube allows for open commentary, which of course was followed with open discussion. And thoughts were not censored.

Critics of the video call it a political strategy to get sympathy from the judge, but from a journalistic standpoint all I can say is that it is influential, started a movement and a video that has brought a new perspective to justice.

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Commentary on Comments

Today in my Politics & Media course the conversation took an unexpected turn. We were talking about accuracy across different media outlets and one group analyzed accuracy by looking through the comments section underneath each article. They concluded the comments really told nothing of the accuracy of the source, as comments are public and not closely regulated. My professor, who I must add is incredibly knowledgeable in this field, asked the class whether we read comments on articles and if we think they are important. Several members of the class said they do not, which I’ve got to admit is the same for myself, but I was surprised to hear how many people thought the comments were of little importance. Even my professor agreed that it would be a “waste of time,” to read them.

 

I was a column writer for The Maneater my first semester at MU and I’ve got to admit, there was nothing more frustrating than commentary based on little-reason, research and evidence. But I think its wrong to classify all comments under this quality. It’s not standard.

 

Instead, here is my view on comments. Feel free to leave your own (a bit ironic yes) on my blog.

 

— They are more useful for reporters than the media source’s readership. Comments may be refuting the basic argument or point-of-view of the article, but they provide a forum for users to have a voice. They may offer alternative perspectives, suggestions of sources or an accuracy check. Stories can develop based off of a debate on this forum. New questions could be asked. And, above all, it offers a layer of transparency in which the news source’s accuracy and fairness in good reporting is held liable.

 

Comments keep reporters on their toes. The U.S. unlike other countries, has a media industry that is predominantly self-regulated. I would argue that our strongest regulators are our readers, and if we deprive them of a forum to question, the content is left as is.

 

Now again, this is subject to comments that hope to accomplish something, rather than simply ripping work apart. Though I rarely post comments myself, as a reporter I have come to value what they can offer.

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Seeing Red3

Seeing Red3

This was the hard one to submit. As a photojournalist I know we need to take as many photos as we can (with different angles, lighting settings and perspectives). And this offered all of that. The angle was one closer to ground level; it was a bit of detail on a large scale firetruck, and it works with a tighter focus to cast light on the red/main object at hand.

Do I think its interesting? Yes. And of good quality? Sure. But I selected this photo as my third option because of the classroom requirements that it fulfills. There are an abundance of, in my opinion, more interesting shots, but where red is not the dominant color in the photo.

This last shot is a expression of getting a picture that your client wants. If hired for a campaign or advertising commercial I cannot turn in submissions based on what I find to be visually pleasing, but instead of images that match what was requested of me.

I have uploaded the photo I debated replacing this with in the next post. Check it out / Open for commentary.

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Seeing Red2

Seeing Red2

It was 98 degrees that day. So yes, I couldn’t help but consider how many heat exhaustion calls the local fire department was receiving.

Lesson learned: never be afraid to ask for a photo opportunity. (I was nervous that because of safety and privacy concerns they would turn me down, but instead the department was very welcoming).

Challenge with this shot: Dealing with the lighting. I had natural light coming in through the big garage doors and indoor lighting to deal with. I decided to stage the photo from this direction to capture the natural light shining on the helmets. I think this image is a good example of paying attention to detail, as I had not previously known that an eagle held the nametag onto the helmet. And it abides by the rule of threes. In addition, the red tops of the helmets create a line in which our eye travels.

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Seeing Red

Seeing Red

Ah, a post written through multiple captions. How fitting. This past week I worked on my first photography assignment in what seemed like ages. Titled “Seeing Red,” it aimed to teach us the basic rules of photography all the while encouraging creativity. Though I was confident in my ability to produce quality photos, I couldn’t help but be frustrated by the color restriction. I wasn’t gravitated toward the obvious examples: a stop sign and a fire hydrant, and I knew to look elsewhere when I came across art and signs but there didn’t seem to be enough opportunity for quality picture-taking.

They tell reporters not to have a complete vision of a story before they go into an interview, but to have done their research. Well, turns out the same is true of photographers. I went downtown around 5 p.m. one night in search of red, and while I tried to look for detail and “nothing-obvious” to the eye, I grew frustrated. Before long I decided I would venture out to St. Louis and take advantage of the Cardinals pride I would find there. This project taught me to not only anticipate good photo opportunities, but to learn to wait for them to come to you. As seen in the example posted above.

—– Photo 1: I arrived at my friend’s home to find his mother cooking. The family had a huge dinner planned in celebration of a brother’s return from a tour in Afghanistan.

What I like about this photo: The steam and the fire. It provides action to a rather simple image. There is also a lot of shading/lightness variation on the pot itself and the dish behind it helps carry the eye across the image.

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