I’m heading out next week to cover the APME 2009 conference in St. Louis as a volunteer through school. Yes, that’s the Associated Press Managing Editors – and the Associated Press Picture Managers (APPM) sessions will be covered as well.

In the last few days, I’ve set up the flickr account and the flickr pool, while other team members set up the twitter feed, facebook page and wordpress blog.

Yeah, we’re everywhere.

So, while setting up all these things for the coverage of this event, I realized – HEY! I’m covering the Associated Press. I’m going to be meeting all sorts of cool people.

… I have no business cards.

:: headdesk ::

My resume and letterhead have my newest [read: originally created three years ago] logo, font and colors. But I struggled with the business card for the longest time. So today, I sat down with my trusty copy of InDesign and channeled my inner graphic designer and started concepting. Here’s the final result, which will get printed at Kinkos sometime between now and Tuesday afternoon. (I’d rather get them done professionally, but I really only need a few, and I can’t afford the rush charges on getting them done with moo.


Spiffy, eh?

Someday, they’ll match my equally spiffy website . . . that currently exists only in my head and temporary files on my server.

Maybe I’ll update it over winter break. Maybe.


day270 :: year three

Almost midnight, Monday.

This week’s (well, and last week’s too) project for Fundamentals was the classmate project. [cue scary music] We picked names out of a box for a round-robin style photo assignment, where I photographed someone, they photographed someone else, who was photographing someone else, and so on.

The goal?

Tell this person’s story. Whether it’s a literal ‘thing,’ like the significance of this one kid’s blue shoes, or a feeling, as with the adjusting period of some of our international students, we needed to convey the story in picures.  It’s a lot harder than it seems.

My story was about Christie, a stretched-thin sophomore taking 19 credits and being active in a sorority and three other volunteer groups on campus. I wish I could have had another week to work on the project, but I lost that due to MPW. More situations in which to take photos may have brought a bit more variety to the images. But we learn from each assignment, and I hope to carry that across to the next big story project, our final.

Here’s my opening image.

day267 :: year three

Editing was tough. I knew I wanted certain photos, but filling in the holes was near impossible. I found myself attached to certain images, but tossing them aside for something that told the story clearer or was better technically. Eventually, I went back to the entire take and found some overlooked gems that ended up in the final edit.

But looking at my classmates’ projects, I could easily see what worked and what didn’t. I knew what I wanted to see to drive the story that the photographer didn’t necessarily have. This time, I was a bit more vocal in the critique, making sure to ask “what’s the story?” if it wasn’t inherently clear. Usually I’m on the quiet side, as our critiques are often much more lenient than I would be if left to my own devices. Today, I felt it appropriate to ask that simple question and make those critical observations. I hope my comments helped.

Maybe I am good at this editing thing. But only when the photos aren’t mine.

I don’t know why I’m procrastinating so much today. Maybe it’s the 32 hours + of gloom and rain we’ve had here. (Although I believe it has stopped raining now, it’s still pretty gloomy.) Or perhaps it’s because I’m in the middle of reading an article for my Mass Media Seminar class that’s so over my head, I don’t know half the words it uses. See sentence example #1:

“West argues that the epistemic skepticism found in some strands of faddish deconstructive criticism and the explanatory agnosticism, or nihilism, associated with the work of descriptivist anthropologists and historians have made the “categorical mistake” of collapsing epistemological concerns of justification in philosophy into methodological concerns of explanation in social theory.” (Kincheloe, McLaren. “Rethinking Critical Theory and Qualitative Research.” p141.)

Ummm, yeah. Maybe we should look at some pictures I’ve been meaning to post instead.

day252 :: year three
An outtake from my “Interaction” project for Fundamentals. I didn’t show it because you can’t really see either face, but there’s just something I like about it. Maybe it’s the angles? Or the idea of a hairdresser being an unsung artist?

(On a unrelated note, our aging neighbor who is on constant oxygen just walked past our door, coughing and wheezing like something from another world. I worry about him sometimes.)

day250 :: year three
These are some of the single images I submitted to CPOY this year. I doubt I’ll win anything, but at least I’ve entered. Next year though, watch out. I hope to have some stellar work.

Okay. Now that I’ve been productive in my procrastination, I’m feeling like I should be productive on some school work first. But where to start . . . the paper about MPW this year? Reading more dreadfully scholarly articles? Or maybe re-writing my lit review question to actually reflect what I wanted in the first place? (I’m hoping to research agenda/image setting through a question about the White House photo office.) Or figuring out the specifics on my ethics term paper topic? (Image manipulation and where the ethical line stands, something like that.)

:: sigh ::

I agree. Let me barrel through this reading. Only a few more pages to go on this one and three more interesting (hopefully) articles after that. Then I’ll write fun papers.


I promise, blog readers – I’m not neglecting you. This last week was full of extra work to get ready for my adventure with the Missouri Photo Workshop. I’ll catch up on my outtake from class assignment #2 and my CPOY entry once I get a chance. Until then, on to MPW!

day257 :: year three

(This is an evening session. We are watching a cool presentation by Rick Shaw on the POYi contest.)

And what is this MPW thing? As coined by Phoebe Sexton (a graduate student a few semesters ahead of me), it’s “Photo Nerd Camp.” To others, it’s a week of intense storytelling photography and lack of sleep. To all, it’s an immersion program that documents stories of a different small town in Missouri every year and is now in its 61st year. Phew!

I went last year and told a story about a “Band of Brothers” and their mom, all dealing with the life change of dad working in Iraq for a year driving trucks.

This year, I’m working on the vortex team, where we ingest all the photographers’ photos, rename them, and put them (via LAN!) onto the team computers for review with the faculty members. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of downtime, too. Thank goodness – I’ve had a lot of reading to do in preparation for writing two papers, one due Monday and one Tuesday.

day258 :: year three

(Not sure who wrote “face.”)

We’ve also been having quite a bit of fun around all this work. Here’s a few more photos of the fun stuff. The entire set can be seen here.


day256 :: year three


Grad school is slowly turning my brain into mush and re-organizing the compartments where the goo gets stored for easier access to the newly important information.

Or so it feels.

For my latest Fundamentals of Photojournalism project, I’ve been feeling a bit apprehensive about shooting. Not necessarily the act of taking photos, but in finding a good place to achieve the goal of the project.

See, I live near downtown, and everyone photographs downtown. I see these hippie-looking, homeless-looking denizens hanging around outside one of the coffee shops, and I think, “I really want to photograph them. I want to know why they are hanging around all the time. I want to know the toothless guy’s story. And the pregnant girl’s story. Why are they here.”

But, as shown in our first class critique, they get photographed and interviewed all the time. I don’t want to be typical. I don’t want to be where everyone else has been. (Even if their efforts have not produced the stories I want to hear.)

The rest of downtown has this same feel. There’s so many interesting spots and people, and I feel as though I’d be selling out if I completed an assignment there. But then again, if everyone has this feeling, then no stories will come from downtown. And that would be a shame.

So, today’s assignment took me all through downtown for a second time. I thought maybe if I took my bike down, I’d stumble across something interesting, maybe something no one else thought to cover before. Nope. Just apprehension about even walking into a situation to ask that tortuous question, “Can I take your picture?”

And then I remembered the animal rescue just a few blocks from my house.

Bingo! Something clicked as I walked up and I felt like myself again, able to put myself into the situation I needed for my project. The many volunteers were quite welcoming and let me hang around for about an hour or so. I got fantastic information, took a bunch of photos (some perfect for my project), and even heard some interesting ideas to possibly pursue for my final project.

Moments like these are rare. I need to remember that not every assignment will be easy to find, and not to give up until I get what I need. For every time I worry that maybe this project will fail, I need to get out and try again.

Because I can do this.

day242 :: year three

A perfect ten.


day233 :: year three

Congratulations to my former roommate, Holly, and her now-husband, Brian!

If I were to ever have a wedding, I’d want it to be like Holly’s. Simple, beautiful, perfect. Not too hot (although it was pretty warm during the ceremony), not too wet (although a few raindrops fell at the end of the night), and full of friends, family, great food and dancing.

Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be exactly like Holly’s. But it would be nice to think it would work out just as well.


day230 :: year three

The photojournalism department sponsored a picnic for staff and students tonight out at a local park, Stephens Lake Park. The weather couldn’t have been better – we were originally forecast with 40% thunderstorms and ended up with a cloudless sky all night long.

It was nice to meet some of the other photo-j students, although it’s a little intimidating that there’s so many of them and so few of us new kids. I’m sure by the end of this semester, that feeling will dissipate.

The semester so far is going well. My brain hurts, but that’s to be expected. There’s a ton of information being crammed in there. Thankfully, as I explained to my adviser today, it’s all things I’m interested in, so it’s slowly finding places to sort out and settle into. Lots and lots of readings, and a ton of writing to match.

But every day, when I go to bed, I think about where I’ve been and where I am and where I’m heading, and I’m undoubtedly happy with my decision to come here for school. It was the right time, and it’s the right place. I miss DC terribly, but I know it – and many of my friends – will be waiting for me at the end.

Now to remember how to write academically and not just newsworthy.

:: think! ::

(Also, for you photo-nerds out there – check out the EXIF data on my file. I hand-held that baby at 1/5 of a second. The +.50 exposure was done in post to give it a little more detail.)

An article about the just-discovered death of DJ AM (as I found out about on Twitter and then did a Google news search on him) on NBC New York’s site brought this to my attention.

Picture 14

Picture 13Picture 12

Picture 11

Looks like NBC New York is starting to rate their articles by mood and then update their logo with recent headlines.

Journalists and friends – what do we think of this? Is this a clever way to drive traffic to local news articles, or is this a sad testament to the downfall of local news stations? Or is it both?

I am undecided.

(However, the graphic designer in me loves the throwback font on the logo.)

I love twitter.


From across the room:

yes. we are ridiculous. but i love it.

Yes. We are ridiculous. But I love it.

(For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter’s format, read from the bottom up.)

A few days off from writing were in order after finishing up that boot camp class. Wow, what an intense two weeks. I feel like I’ve learned a ridiculous amount about working in the newsroom . . . and sadly, I won’t be back there for some time. But that’s okay. There’s other adventures to be had in the meantime.

Another good reason for not writing in a few days – Scott has arrived!

I went to pick him up at the airport on Saturday, and it’s been crazy ever since. We’ve been getting settled into our apartment and traveling around town on bikes. (Okay, riding to class and back. But for me, that’s an adventure.) Cooking has not really commenced yet, but I hope to write about some of our creations soon. I’m getting tired of canned chili and lean cuisines for dinner.

(Another exaggeration – that chili is actually quite good. But I do hope to make some tasty dishes in our kitchen.)

I’ll be sure to take photos for a virtual tour once we finish getting everything ready and set where it belongs. Until then, here’s a photo of the housewarming cards from our respective parents, as hung on our corkboard / whiteboard panels next to the front door.

day221 :: year three