Photo Story: Cinema Detroit

For my final photo story, I decided to photograph one of my favorite places in Detroit, Cinema Detroit. Founded by Detroiters Paula and Tim Guthat, Cinema Detroit is one of metro-Detroit’s only independent movie theater. It is also one of the only theaters in the Greater Downtown area that is open 7 days a week. The theater plays many different films ranging from John Waters’ Multiple Maniacs to F. Gary Gray’s The Fate and the Furious, movie fanatics from different ages will always find something good to watch at Cinema Detroit.

Cinema Detroit was my very first choice for my final photo story. I didn’t even get the approval from the theater yet because I was that confident that they would approve of it. I chose Cinema Detroit primarily because I admire how it is one of the only independent movie theater in Detroit. I’m always looking forward to seeing different movies that aired at festivals such as Festival de Cannes and Sundance Film Fest, that wouldn’t normally air at more mainstream theaters. What I truly hope to get out of this project is for more people to visit and experience seeing movies at Cinema Detroit. It is truly different and interesting, and for that reason is why it is one of my favorite places to go in the metro-Detroit area.

Catching a Shot: Sports Photography

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Surprisingly, sports photography was one of the tougher projects that we have had this semester. I expected for this project to be harder, primarily because sports include a lot of action, so you must have your camera set accordingly. Some of the problems I stumbled upon was my camera settings, getting good shots through a fence, and even finding a sporting event. Fortunately, I found out there was going to be a softball game at my school, and it was free, which was a major plus to me. As I arrived, I began to set my camera, at what I thought was correct and appropriate for the game, which was outdoors in the sunlight. What I completely forgot about, as I began to shoot photos, was how difficult it would be to shoot through a fence. I overcame that obstacle quickly, and soon found some of my fellow classmates shooting the event as well, so we each helped each other out.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this assignment, mainly because we as a class got to experience sports photojournalism, which our professor explained to us that it’s a little difficult. As I stated before, the things that were challenging to me before, I was able to overcome, but one of the things that I ended up realizing later was that my camera settings were incorrect. Even though a few things were incorrect, I still think that my photos turned out very well, and I am pleased with them overall.

Portraiture Photography

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For the most part, I enjoy portrait photography. My experience, however, wasn’t that bad at all, the only problem I had was not being able to shoot photos outside due to the weather. But luckily, I found nice spots indoors to shoot photos. In my opinion, portrait photography was easier than I thought. I think the only problem I came across was picking an interesting background, but I didn’t let that bring me down at all. Finding someone to shoot a picture of wasn’t hard either. Luckily, my subject, Giselle, is a friend of a friend, so she was very friendly and willing to let me take photos of her, and had a bright and positive attitude.

As a photojournalist, I am getting more use to people photography. Shooting pictures of people is a very important part of photojournalism, as it helps tell the story.

Don Gonyea Master Class

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On Friday, March 24th, 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting NPR National Political Correspondent, Don Gonyea. This master class was very informing and interesting. Don discussed many different things and even took questions. A few of the most important things Don talked about were all journalism / photojournalism related that was unique. Gonyea discussed how with journalism, along the lines of politics, one cannot express their point of view, in which we have learned previously at the beginning of the semester. If a journalist shows or expresses the side they are on in their article, they could easily be accused of bias. Gonyea also enthused about how there isn’t solidarity when trying to defend journalists, especially during this period where there’s an uproar on “fake news” and what’s the truth. His recommendation was that journalists need to tell the story as best as we can and stick to facts. Sticking to the facts would help make the more credible. Gonyea also gave us beginner journalists tips, such as telling us that we should always try and work with organizations and do internships to better our knowledge and experience.

Honestly, it sucked going back to school on a Friday, but I’m very thankful that I did for Don Gonyea because he really helped clarify some things that I still questioned about with journalism. I also liked how honest he was, he didn’t hesitate to tell us students that journalism is very competitive, and one thing I related to the most is how he straight up said that he is an introvert, just like me. It was such a pleasure of meeting someone like him, and honestly, I didn’t even know who he was until that day, but after the master class, I followed him on social media just so I could see more of his work and take tips from it.

Feature Photography: Slices Of Life

In my honest opinion, this chapter was harder for me. I originally took photos at an event at the University of Michigan Museum of Art for artist Tracey Snelling, who was giving a lecture and displaying some of her art. Prior to going, I messaged the museum, asking for permission to photograph the event and they let me do so. I arrived a few minutes early so I could set my camera functions accordingly to the light in the room and so forth. I was able to get a few nice shots until the lighting in the room began to get dimmer and dimmer, so I had to continuously change some of the settings on my camera. After the event, I went to check my photos and realized hardly any of them came out right. I was a little disappointed, but I took more time to look up more events that caught my eye.

I then came upon this event, the Detroit College Fair Expo at Greater Grace Temple Detroit. Shooting this event, I kept thinking that no one would think this event was photo worthy and surprising, but I felt that it was something different that you wouldn’t see often. This event was hosted for high school seniors and juniors to get a bigger glimpse at different colleges and even careers they would likely pursue and be interested in. This event was a little easier in my opinion because I could stick to one lighting setting and the students and staff weren’t bothered by me taking photos of them. It was nice to see these students from different schools in the area excited about college and the future to come. As for my enterprise photo, there’s a park near my house where the squirrels are everywhere and are not fazed by us humans coming near them. I thought that this photo was nice because, well, they are the cutest and it’s always nice to embrace nature and take some time to be outside.

As an introvert, this project definitely helped me come out of my shell more, and to not be embarrassed to be behind the camera. I do need more practice with feature photography, especially since it’s a big part of photojournalism. But I don’t think I did too bad for my first shot at it!

The Importance of Captions

As photojournalists, telling the story within our photos is one of our biggest priorities. One of the things that help tell the story along with the photo is the caption, which is usually located under a photo to present readers with the 5 W’s – who is in the photo, what is happening in the photo, where is the photo taken place, when did the photo occur, and why is the action happening / why was the photo taken. When creating a caption, it is important to include this information so that the readers know exactly what they are looking at. Prior to taking this class, I did not know that the 5 W’s must be included in the caption, for most photos I have seen in local newspapers and magazines did not included each of the 5 W’s. I also learned that there are different types of captions – single name captions for headshots, basic descriptive captions that highlights the 5 W’s, and a detailed caption for photos that don’t have a story.

There is also a formula for writing captions per the Associated Press Stylebook. The first sentence of the caption should include who is in the photo and what is going on in the present tense, and it should also include where the photo was taken and the date. The second sentence, however, should be in the past tense and can include anything the else the photographer feels is necessary. I was highly unaware of how big of a deal caption writing is, but after reading on it, I now understand why it shows such great importance to photographers, and especially us photojournalists.

Photojournalists & 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.”

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

As a United States citizen and collegiate photojournalism student, I realized how crucial the First Amendment is, especially in the times that we live in now. This amendment allows us, as citizens of this nation, to voice our opinions and exercise our right to censure decisions made amongst the American government. In connection to photojournalism, us photojournalists are allowed the opportunity to tell stories, it is our prime duty to do so. Regardless if our opinions agree or disagree with the government, it is our job to tell the story how it is without changing it.

As far as ethics go, photojournalists must follow the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics. Prior to enrolling into this class, I was unaware that there are guidelines that photojournalists must follow when photographing specific events. After reading it, I soon began to realize why it is so important that photojournalists follow these codes. As a collegiate photojournalism student, I came upon this realization that telling a story has its flaws in a way that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. One of the things that I feel is hard for photojournalists nowadays is staying impartial during this political time period. What I learned so far is to put differences aside and just tell the story no matter what the subject is. As stated in the Code of Ethics, “Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work”, (Code # 3). It is a photojournalists job to be accurate, respectful, ethical, and unbiased when reporting on different stories.

Back to Basics: Camera Controls

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When I first enrolled into this Digital Photojournalism course, I arrived with prior experience with photography. Therefore, many would think that I know exactly what I’m doing behind the camera, well the truth is, not exactly. A few years back in high school during my senior year, I took a Media Production class, where we primarily focused on photography using DSLR cameras, SLR cameras, and other film cameras. In this current Digital Photojournalism course, we are expected to strictly use DSLR and/or Mirrorless cameras. One of the things that my professor in this class, Lori King, emphasizes is using our cameras only on manual mode. On the manual mode of a camera, photographers get to set their ISO (the cameras sensitivity to light), F-Stop (how much light is being let into the camera), Shutter Speed (the amount of time that the shutter is open), and many other settings that can change the way photos turn out. I was familiar with these settings prior to coming to this class, but changing them and setting the mode to manual wasn’t stressed enough in my Media Productions class, and at times I caught myself setting my camera to auto, in which Lori does not allow for us to do. As I went out to shoot photos for this project, I often found myself stopping to set my camera and change different settings, in a sense it started to grow onto me what I needed to change, such as the Shutter Speed, in order to make the photo look good. This whole chapter was a major blast from the past, and I learned quite a bit more this time around.

Although the shooting aspect of this project was a little bit tough, I enjoyed taking different shots to enhance my photography skills. One key thing that I loved about this project so far, besides learning more about the functions of a camera, was going out to shoot the photos. I got to explore different areas around Detroit, and I realized this is all a part of photojournalism, going out and capturing photos in different places and telling a story. Beforehand, I was anxious about the thought of going out to shoot photos, but I soon grew confidence in myself and this assignment helped, since we couldn’t use any older photos, so we were technically forced to go out into the real world and shoot photos. This assignment played a very crucial role in this course, because we must know how to control the camera before we use it.

Throwback Photos

Hello, just thought I’d post some old photos from back in high school just so you all can get a glimpse at my photography style. All of these photos were shot with my Nikon CoolPix P530. Enjoy!