This is my blog for a photojournalism class. In this blog, I will cover details about photography, and issues that are important to our world.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Behind the scenes at the drive-in!

The marquee of the Sundance Kid Drive-In in Oregon, Ohio. Photos by Paul Murray/PHO245.
The Three Stooges plays on the big screen.
An analog film machine. It will become obsolete as theaters make the transition to digital.
Administrative assistant Scott Bee Displays a 35mm film reel.
    For my final project, I was assigned to shoot a documentary all by myself. I did my documentary on the Sundance Kid Drive-In in Oregon, Ohio. This was one of the greatest challenges I have faced as a photographer. This assignment put me in a situation that I had never been in before. I was to go into an unknown environment, talk to people that I had never met, interview them, and take pictures of them.
   The most important thing to remember when attempting something like this is that you have to just relax. You can’t psych yourself out, or you will go into panic mode. I chose to not even think about my social anxiety. I just relaxed and did what I had to do. When you forget about your fears, your job becomes much simpler.
   Even though I successfully completed this assignment, I still did not step completely out of my comfort zone. I interviewed the management and took pictures of the staff and the structures of the drive-in itself.  However, I did not get many pictures with customers. That is one of my regrets about this assignment. My other regret is that I did not bring a tripod. It got really dark outside, and there was not as much lighting as I thought there would be. Some of my pictures came out really blurry because of this. This was my first time shooting at night, so lesson learned!
   Overall, this was a good experience. I got good pictures and a good interview. The vice president and his assistant were more than happy to help me out and show me around. They gave me some useful information in my interview about how many drive-ins throughout the country have had to close. However, they also shared some humorous stories about people sneaking in their friends in the trunks of their cars!
   I am satisfied with this project. I learned a lot from it, and it was one of my best experiences yet. To be honest though, I am glad that I am done with people photography, at least for now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Witnessing realtionships being built at the Sunshine Home!

A nurse helps a resident with special needs. Photos by Paul Murray/PHO245.

A man works hard with others to build an outdoor structure.

The horse of Sunshine Home is as friendly as can be.

A resident waves at the camera with the guidance of a staff member.
   My photojournalism class went out to Sunshine Home for a class documentary project. Sunshine Home focuses on the needs of people with developmental disabilities, so it was a sensitive subject. We had to take picture of the residents without offending them or getting straight up in their face. However, the staff was very friendly, and more than willing to help us out.
   I handled the task a lot better than my team member Sydney. I was getting relaxed and stepping out of my comfort zone, while she was on the verge of having a panic attack. It’s funny because I thought it would be the other way around. I guess I’m getting more used to working with people.
   I was also on the sound team for this project. I got to help conduct an interview. It was nice to step back from the photo editing process for a moment and apply my area of expertise to photojournalism.
   Overall, this was a useful experience, and it really helped me out when I went out to shoot my  individual documentary. I am much more confident now than I was before. I think if I can handle this sensitive task in a proper manner, then I am well-equipped to handle anything.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shooting features: The best way to learn is to step out of your comfort zone!

Camille Pristash prepares her classroom in Beverly Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio March 29.
Camille Pristash
    I am a socially awkward introvert who does not like people photography. This assignment further confirms that way of thinking.
    I had to go out and find an interesting person to take portraits of. I needed a shot of the subject in their environment, and a standard head and shoulders shot.
   The biggest problem I had was actually finding someone that would let me photograph them. I managed to find a teacher who works in the same building as my mother. She was more than happy to help me out, and I owe her a lot of gratitude.
   The part of this assignment where I had to actually take the photos was not so bad. That is where I actually feel comfortable.  I was also under a time constraint. I had about 10-15 minutes to shoot these photos. Giving the subject precise instruction under this amount of time was difficult, but I managed to get it done.
   I am still not getting used to interacting with people, and I fear that I never will. However, photography is what I am comfortable with, so I will stick with it, and I will try to avoid photographing people as best as I can.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Rockets 'stomp a mudhole in Cincinnati and walk it dry!'

Andola Dortch charges through Cincinnati defenders during the 2nd round of the WNIT tournament at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio. She would go on to score 13 points. (PHO245 photos by Paul Murray)

Fans and players celebrate as the Rockets dominate Cincinnati. The Rockets won 72-51, advancing them to the 3rd round against VCU.
UT's Kyle Baumgartner attempts to score ahead of Cincinnati's Bjonee Reaves. 
 Anybody who knows me knows that I HATE SPORTS. So they can appreciate my feeling of contempt  when I had to shoot my first sports assignment on Monday night. 
   I watched Toledo take on Cincinnati in a women’s college basketball game.
UT head coach Tricia Cullop applauds her players.
At first I was really hesitant about this kind of task. But I realized that basketball fans are not as crazy as football fans. One of the things that turn me off about sports is the crazy macho attitude. Maybe those kinds of attitudes are a lot more common in male sports. 
   I have to say, though, that the energy at the beginning of the game was electric. I got a taste of what pumps those sports fans up. The energy reminded me of pro wrestling, which I am a huge fan of. Pro wrestling is the only entertainment venue in the world where you hear “fruity pebbles” chants. 
   Marching band music and screaming face-painted fans are not exactly as intense as witnessing the attitude adjustment of WWE superstar John Cena, and the loud “Let’s go Cena!" and  "Cena sucks!” chants from his admirers and haters. But hey, energy is still energy.
The game wound down and became boring to me in a short time. I was able to focus on my shooting. I was able to get lots of very helpful advice from the professional photographers sitting next to me on the sidelines. 
    Sports photography is very difficult. It is especially difficult to get action shots with an inferior lens, while constantly having to manually focus the images while the players are running at you. I did manage to get a few good images, though.
   After the game I got to go back into the media room and watch the local sports anchors interview the players and the coach. I found out how quiet a media room gets when the photographers work diligently to edit photos, write captions/stories, and submit them by the end of the night. I have a newfound respect for these people. 
    I was exhausted by the end of the night. Overall, I would NOT want to be a sports photographer, and I still dislike sports. However, this was a useful learning experience. When I go back to shooting landscape photography, I will feel much more relaxed!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gaming culture helps extinguish my anxiety!


(Top) An assortment of mages gather together at Old School Gaming in Toledo, Ohio, March 9. The hopes were high to have fun and win prizes at Friday Night Magic. (Center) Rob Coffman duels a fellow planeswalker in the game of Magic: The Gathering. He came in second in the tournament of Friday Night Magic. (Bottom) Two players of Magic: The Gathering square off against one another. Prizes were at stake in the tournament of Friday Night Magic. (PHO245/Paul Murray)
    Feature photography is harder than I expected. I had previously done landscape photography. I was never very thrilled about photos that involve people. I think the world is a beautiful place, but I tend to dislike most people in general. The thought of approaching a random stranger with a camera is probably one of my biggest fears. I have never been good at talking to strangers normally, and I am definitely introverted in social situations.
   This project amplified my social fears. It actually got me wondering if I have a social anxiety disorder. I would say it is quite possible at this point. My anxiety jumped off the charts just thinking about attempting something like this. I think that I definitely want to steer clear of people photography.
   With this in mind, I had an assignment where I had to go out and shoot people, so I chose an environment where I felt relatively comfortable: an environment where I was surrounded by fellow nerds. I went to document the tournament of Friday Night Magic.
   Magic: The Gathering is the most popular trading card game in the world, with a base of millions of players.
   The level of competition ranges anywhere from the professional level, where a player can win prizes up to $40,000, all the way down to Friday Night Magic, a casual tournament where players can have fun with their friends. This experience proved that the gaming culture is interesting at any level.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Caption writing is tedious but important!

   Caption writing is a tedious process.  When a non-photojournalist thinks of a caption, they usually do not think of the paragraphs under the photos in their local newspaper. Caption writing is almost like a mathematic formula. Everything must be in order in the proper location, and it must be stylized correctly, as well. If this is not done, it affects the validity of the entire caption. The Associated Press Stylebook really helps you write tight, technical captions. The AP Stylebook is a worldwide standard that most journalists use in order to standardize their work.
   Captions need to be written correctly not just because it is the correct way to do things. If you write an incorrect caption, it affects your validity as a journalist, and people may not take you seriously in the future. Captions also let readers know what the photo is about, and who is in the photo. If you do not explain your photos, then the message will not be as effective. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The First Amendment

   Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
   As a photojournalism student, the First Amendment is very important to me. When I am out shooting for a project or assignment, the First Amendment protects my right to shoot in public, and it protects my rights to run a newsworthy story. Unfortunately, there will be people, such as police, who try to usurp my First Amendment rights. Part of knowing your rights are also learning when to pick your battles. Suing the police at a later date is a lot better than getting arrested for no reason!
   If somebody tries to take away your First Amendment rights, you should probably end up taking legal action against them. Our First Amendment rights are the foundation upon which our country was founded, and without freedom of speech and freedom of the press, people would be able to get away with corruption. My job as a photojournalist is to bring the corruption to people’s eyes, and the First Amendment helps me do that.