Friday, June 9, 2017

JN134 - Photostory

Alec Shelton draws flowers on his hitchhiking sign before departing for Route 34 on Tuesday, June 6. Shelton has hitchhiked for a month, taking small trips to the Oregon Coast and Corvallis. Shelton, a general studies major at LBCC, hitchhikes in an effort to decide whether he wants to travel and go back to school later or continue pursuing an education now.

Shelton waits to be picked up near the intersection of Route 34 and the I-5. Shelton explains his feeling when hitchhiking, saying he "feels free and adventurous."

After only 10 minutes, Shelton is picked up by Rebecca, a married mother of two who works at Samaritan Health Services. Shelton says he's "rarely scared" when being picked up but that his reaction is heavily influenced by who the person is. Shelton expresses his intention to treat everyone nicely and learn what he can from them.

Shelton and Rebecca cross over the Willamette River into Corvallis. Shelton says his initial perception of hitchhiking was sitting somewhere for days in an attempt to get any rides but has been surprised by how quickly he gets picked up. Shelton said he never waits for longer than 30 minutes for a ride.
Shelton says goodbye to Rebecca and thanks her for the ride.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

JN134 - Week 10 Blog Post

Topic 1: Your best photojournalism
1. I think the best photo I took was the overall from my feature/news set.

2. Although, probably not a conventional choice, I really like the angle and how much of the hall I got. I think there's a nice transition from light to dark and the darkness of the hallway gives way to the light of the open room. I also find it interesting that the people on the right are somewhat lined up, pointing your eyes towards the reader.

3. I used to just "take pictures," with no intent or really understanding of how to get a truly compelling photo. I used to think it was mostly luck, based on timing and circumstance. It still is a lot of luck, but you can do some great work by learning about composition.

4. My skills have improved a lot. I mean it's really day and night. I struggled to get anything resembling proper settings and focus. My photos from the Interzone poetry event are kind of embarassing at this point, I was too far, my settings were way off, I wasn't focusing properly.

Topic 2: Your Goals
I have a lot of goals for this class.
1. My largest goal is learning how to manipulate settings on a camera to really get great photos in different environments.
Response: I think I really improved on this skill. In fact: I know I did by looking back on the photos I took this term. Not only do I know how to use the settings, I can change them quickly and have a faint idea of what it will look like before I even take a picture.

2. I want to learn how to quickly get a good depth of field and learn how to alter the depth of field once I have one.
Response: I haven't improved quite as much as I would have liked to on this one, but I have gotten better. I at least know the settings that effect the depth of field but it still takes me a while to get them where I want.

3. I want to get at least one really good action shot at a baseball game, it seems very challenging and I think that would be a good benchmark for progress.
Response: Well, obviously this one didn't happen but my soccer action shots turned out pretty well and I think I could take good pictures at a baseball game. I actually hope to get credentials for the Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs AAA) next year and take some great pictures at that time.

Monday, June 5, 2017

JN-134 Action Photos

An extra ball sits beyond the goal during LBCC Soccer Class on Friday June 2.

A student races past midfielders with the ball on his way to the goal.

Students colliding as they vie for possession of the ball as teammates get into position.

JN134 - Environmental Portrait/Mug

LBCC GSA President Mattie Guilliams

Mattie Guilliams spends time in the DAC the day of the 2017 LBCC Drag Show taking place June 2.

JN134 - News/Feature Photos

The podium awaits the first reading at the MFA Emerging Writers event at Grass Roots Books and Music in Corvallis on June 2, 2017. 

OSU MFA Student and writing instructor Randy Magunson reads "This is How It Will Go," a story explaining to a child the experiences they may have when a foster child is welcomed into their home. 

Tavia Mendez, Eastern Oregon University MFA Graduate reads "When The Streets Were Flooded With White Mist," a short story exploring superstition, magic, marriage and infertility.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

JN134 Week 9 - Book Report

In "It's What I Do" by Lynsey Addario, Addario discusses her personal history and time covering various conflicts overseas. I found that her description of her time in war zones is the most compelling portion of the story, which is no surprise. Although, I would say the portions of her description that I found the most interesting was not the tales of harrowing captures, or narrowly avoiding death, but her social life. I have read many stories about war correspondents and personal  accounts of terrifying experiences, but I rarely read about the relationships formed and lost, or the toll the job takes on their families. Addario discusses meeting her husband Paul de Bendern in Istanbul, the morning before leaving for Tehran. She wasn't crazy about him, and the story itself about how he grew on her wasn't particularly remarkable, but what was happening in their respective lives was incredible. I doubt anyone goes overseas to cover wars with the hope of meeting their spouse.

I found myself somewhere between impressed and stupefied throughout the book as I read about Addario's commitment to her work. After nearly dying of dehydration, being kidnapped twice, beaten, abused and detained, Addario kept going to work.

"It is the way we make a living, but it feels more like a responsibility, or a calling. It makes us happy, because it gives us a sense of purpose. We bear witness to history, and influence policy.” (p. 12)

 Addario did admit she was human, and scared at times.

"While covering wars, there were days when I had boundless courage and there were days, like these in Libya, when I was terrified from the moment I woke up." (p. 2)

I felt tremendous respect for her motivation to work. Addario wasn't an adrenaline junkie or someone out for fame and fortune, she felt it was her duty to document and report the reality of the conflicts and struggles she covered. Addario displayed a fearlessness in her coverage, getting extremely close to particularly dangerous situations.

Many of the photos in the book left me awestruck. The photo of Kurdish peshmerga firing rockets at Ansar al-Islam territory on page 118 was incredible. The landscape in which the photograph was taken was truly beautiful but military equipment, and a recently launched rocket drive home the absolute danger she is literally right next to. A photo on page 208 of U.S. forces pulling body bags through a smoke-filled field immediately got my attention. the composition of the photo is phenomenal and she took the photo in a dangerous battlefield. The fact she was able to take such technically proficient photos in such chaotic environments lends itself to her tremendous courage and skill.

U.S. Soldiers in Korengal Valley following an ambush in 2007. (p. 208)

I felt inspired by Addario to get closer to conflicts and fight my fear as much as possible to properly capture the story -- she also taught me to be extremely careful. I personally don't have the guts to put myself in the situations she did, but the lesson to be careful is still extremely valuable. There are certain events I think about covering and worry about my ability to keep my calm, reading "It's What I do" has shown me that staying calm is incredibly important and it's definitely a skill I need to work on.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in photography, history or journalism. I found nearly every sentence to be compelling. The content and writing was phenomenal and informative. Addario pulls no punches about the injustice and questionable actions she watched take place, regardless of who was perpetrating it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

JN134 - My Hometown

Ray Smith sits in his 1994 Honda Passport, which does not start, in the parking lot of his apartment building on a Thursday afternoon. He calls it his "office."

A congregation of neighbors discuss their days in the parking lot they share prior to the sunset on June 1.
Reginald Jackson Jr. walks through the gate onto LBCC property from the apartment building he lives in.