Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, We Can

Newsphotography teaches you to think fast. - Weegee

On the historic evening of November 4, 2008, as our Nation elected the first African-American President Barack Obama, his chant of "Yes, We Can" had special meaning for the members of my Chemeketa Community College Newsphotography Class. You see, for the last 4 weeks they had gone through "Photo Boot Camp" (as one person described it), and now they had the opportunity to put all the theories into practice as they covered the Marion County Democrats Election Night Gala in Salem, Oregon, for our class field trip.

The Grand Ballroom was the site for this general news assignment and the initial turn-out at 6:00 p.m. of about 100 voters far exceeded my wildest expectations. After a brief informational gathering and pep talk, the class was cut loose to gather images documenting the story of the night, while I jotted down notes to determine whether their approaches compared or contrasted to mine. As the evening unfolded, the crowd steadily increased until at 8:00 p.m., when projections proclaimed Obama the winner, over 300 screaming supporters packed the hall. The job ended at 9:20 p.m. with the class covering the event for just over 3 hours and the resulting photographs were wonderful!

For Jennifer Pino, keying on audience anticipation eventually led to a mass hysterical celebration and this nice trio of images.

Anati Neiffer focused on diversity, of all kinds, and captured an intimate moment between younger voters as the winner was declared.

Symbolism best described the essence of Dean Schmidt's
photos, whether it was near the buffet table or on the faces and in the gestures of the jubliant supporters.

After Obama's victory speech, I snapped a quick group shot of Anati (left), Dean, and Jennifer, and now after reviewing their work, I realize that with the proper attitude, motivation, and preparation, a basic newsphotography class will effectively cover any assignment. Yes, We Can.
. . . To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters . . . - Harry Callahan
Newsphotography:Exposed is now enrolling interested photogs at Chemeketa Community College for Winter Term -- more information can be found here:


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