Ministry of Presence core to my Photojournalism

John-Michael Riggs, from Knoxville, TN dressed like a warrior to be part of the The Annual Trans March which started at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Riggs says he alternates from a peace outfit to a warrior outfit each year. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/1250]
While covering the Transgender Parade, which is part of Atlanta Pride events, I watched as the people in the parade were reacting to each other like a family reunion.

I found everyone that I talked to very open. I was needing to get their information for writing captions for the photos I was taking.

Robin Rayne and Emily Graven are covering The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park on Saturday, October 13, 2018 in Atlanta, GA. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/200]
Emily Graven, a UGA Photojournalism student, was shadowing me for the day. We met up with Robin Rayne who has been covering this event for many years to get some tips.

In looking for stories we spend time talking with people. When we have done a good job of building relationships with people they will come out of their shell.

Emma & Zoe are sisters whose dad (behind them), Christian Zsilavetz, is the founder of the Atlanta Pride school. They are at The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park In Atlanta on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/1250]
What I find very important in being a good photojournalist is be present with people. This means you listen, laying down our defensiveness and agendas, and offering up empathy instead.

Jackson Wells, Sebastian Broome, Caire Mattera, Ariel Washington, Cat, Jessica Renee, Jas Rochelle meet each at The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, on Saturday, October 13, 2018. They are from all over Georgia and Virginia. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]
The most courageous thing we can do is listen. The bravest thing we can do is to stand with them.

I had learned about the concept of the ministry of presence through some pastoral counseling sessions and a great deal more when my wife was a chaplain at the VA hospital.

The ministry of presence is a way of “being” rather than of “doing” or “telling”.

The Annual Trans March – alongside Piedmont Park has people dressed all up participating on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.8, 1/1500]
My undergraduate degree was a B.S. in social work. It was this training that helped me be a better photojournalist. That coupled with my pastoral classes in seminary taught me how to prepare to be with others that are suffering  is not to think about what to say or what to do. We are not anticipating how to react to certain situations that might develop.

We prepare by being present in the moment–The NOW.

The Annual Trans March – alongside Piedmont Park has people dressed all up participating on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 1/240]
To maintain objectivity in journalismjournalists should present the facts whether or not they like or agree with those facts. Objective reporting is meant to portray issues and events in a neutral and unbiased manner, regardless of the writers opinion or personal beliefs.

Now when I show up anywhere I am bringing all of me to that place. One of the greatest things to change my life has been my faith. When I read my bible I do not use it to condemn others, I use it to help change me. Through the years the scriptures have challenged me in ways that has helped me be a much better journalist.

Matthew 1:23 
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When telling the story of Jesus the Bible talks about the birth of Christ and him being called Immanuel. In most of the Bibles I have they have in parenthesis what Immanuel means. “God with us.”

John 13:35
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The scripture points out that we are to be like Christ to others. We are to “be” with others.

Robin Rayne, Bureau Chief of Zuma Press, Talks with Monica Helms who created the Transgender Flag more than twenty years ago at the staging area for The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 640, ƒ/9, 1/100]
As journalists we too need to learn to just “be” with others. This is where you are there to listen. You ask them questions to understand them. You ask for their stories.

I don’t want to hear, “If Truth be told.” This means they feel somewhat uncomfortable.

I mention that because many people feel they must be guarded. They don’t believe people will believe them and use their words against them.

My mentor Howard Chapnick wrote a book that the title alone says what the power of photojournalism is all about–Truth Needs No Ally.

Artes is from Birmingham, AL and came to be part of the The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/1800]
TRUTH is the rock foundation of every great character. It is loyalty to the right as we see it; it is courageous living of our lives in harmony with our ideals; it is always—power.

I challenge you to learn to just “be” with others today. Learn to listen. One of the hardest parts of doing this correctly is not letting someone’s comment have you thinking about a reply. Truth comes when we really listen with the intent to understand.

Photojournalist Instagram Feeds I Follow

Eugene Richards

He is a photographer, writer, and filmmaker, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1944. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English, he studied photography with Minor White. In 1968, he joined VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, a government program established as an arm of the so-called” War on Poverty.”  Following a year and a half in eastern Arkansas, Richards helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, which reported on black political action as well as the Ku Klux Klan.  Photographs he made during these four years were published in his first monograph, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta.

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"I was driving away from the cotton gin in Widener when I caught sight of an elderly woman sitting out alone on her porch. I introduced myself, then asked her her name; it was Viola Perkins. When I asked Mrs. Perkins if I could take her picture, she smiled, either happy to be having a visitor or too polite to refuse me. I took two photos. The first is of the 78-year-old woman sitting rather stiffly with her hands folded in her lap. The second photograph is a reflection of her face in a window. It shows a loosened door hinge, a bit of sky, the stumps of a dead tree, and a red stop sign that looks to be backwards, so you’re not quite sure if it’s real." -Widener, AR 2010 #eugenerichards #photoville #pho #documentary #arkansas #reflection

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Gary S. Chapman

Because impacting lives matters, Gary helps organizations tell their stories visually. He has covered humanitarian stories in more than 70 countries around the world, helping groups create awareness, express their vision and build their community. You can trust him to bring an honest, photojournalistic approach to your commercial, corporate, editorial, or non-profit assignments.

William Albert Allard

The son of a Swedish immigrant, William Albert Allard studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota with the hope of becoming a writer. Transferring to the University of Minnesota after only a year, he enrolled in the journalism program. He graduated in 1964 with a double major in journalism and photography…

Looking for work in the field of photojournalism, Allard met Robert Gilka, then National Geographic’s director of photography, while in Washington, D.C., and was offered an internship. His most notable work as an intern included his photographs of the Amish for an article entitled “Amish Folk: Plainest of Pennsylvania’s Plain People,”(published in August 1965). It is said to be regarded as landmark in the photographic evolution of National Geographic. His work led to a full-time position with the magazine.

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Crenshaw, Mississippi, 1968// In 1968 I was assigned to photograph the “Poor Peoples March” that was to start in the Deep South and end up in Washington DC. A reporter and I went to a gathering of African Americans in the area of Crenshaw, Mississippi who were supposed to leave for Washington in a day or two. The people were crowded together under a a huge canvas tent where we met the Irbys, a nice family who agreed to let us follow them back to their home later, an aged wooden tenant house sitting in the midst of vast cotton fields. But before we left the tent, I made a few portraits of some of the family but mostly of Hank, who was 17 at the time. The details in the portrait of Hank are so important probably because they are really imperfections, something one might change or correct of one we’re going to do a serious portrait session. Little details like the part of an under shirt that shows. How the top button of his shirt is buttoned tight, the second button is loose. And there are small flecks of blue paint on his shirt that echo the color of his sweater. His well worn cap is tilted just so. The wall of the tent behind him provides background color that blends so well with his dark eyes, his brown skin. His gaze at me is just slightly apprehensive but accepting. Although unstudied, it’s probably as hones and direct a portrait as I’ve ever made. @thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative @leica_camera @leicacamerausa #portraitphotography #filmphotography #60s #1960s #south #kodachrome #leica #mississippi

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Randy Olson

Randy’s 30+ National Geographic projects have taken him to almost every continent. National Geographic Society published a book of his work in 2011 in their Masters of Photography series. Olson was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the 2003 Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1991—one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II.

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There are six great aquifers in the world. In North America our great aquifer is the Ogallala—it stretches from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle. Twenty percent of our food and 40 percent of our beef rely on the aquifer. It’s unfortunate that we’ve pumped the equivalent of two Lake Eries out, setting the stage for a new desert in the Texas panhandle and southern Kansas in the immediate future. The aquifer recharges at different rates. Nebraska wins the water lottery; it is the only place you can see Ogallala water at the surface. The Ogallala takes a long time to recharge in Texas, where there are the most wells, the least regulation, the hottest temperatures (even before climate change), and the slowest recharge. Entire communities in this area are already running out of water. Scarcity of water, fragile infrastructure, small dust bowls, the family farm crisis, Big Ag, and global urbanization leave some behind with few options. Small towns are disintegrating around their residents. There is rampant meth and opioid addiction in some of these places. If your hot water heater breaks, there isn’t anyone in your entire county that can fix it. I am from the Midwest, and the pain rural folks have gone through showed up this election. I saw this frustration first-hand working on the Ogallala aquifer story that ran in the August 2016 issue of National Geographic, but I never thought the level of frustration of these communities would manifest itself in this way. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety

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Lynsey Addario

An American photojournalist, Lynsey, takes us to through the raw nooks and corners of the world with her photographs, building a visually pleasureful experience for us to witness the world through her eyes.

Ed Kashi

Documenting the on-going mayhem at Syria, Kashi a photojournalist, filmmaker and lecturer through his Instagram is portraying the world of Syrian refugees, oozing of emotions and getting us up, close, and personal with their misery amongst the others.

Robin Rayne

Documentary photojournalist, filmmaker and writer. A unique perspective on society.

Joanna B. Pinneo

Ted Scripps Fellow, Environmental communications, mentor and instructor Joanna Pinneo’s photos tell stories with tenderness & insight.

DAVID TURNLEY

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is Inspired by Family, Passion, Love, Purpose, Respect, and Dignity as he Photographs around the World!

Peter Turnley

Peter Turnley is renown for his photography of the realities of the human condition. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek 43 times and are published frequently in the world’s most prestigious publications. He has worked in over 90 countries and has witnessed most major stories of international geo-political and historic significance in the last thirty years. His photographs draw attention to the plight of those who suffer great hardships or injustice. He also affirms with his vision the many aspects of life that are beautiful, poetic, just, and inspirational.

David Alan Harvey

Born in San Francisco, David Alan Harvey was raised in Virginia. He discovered photography at the age of 11. Harvey purchased a used Leica with savings from his newspaper route and began photographing his family and neighborhood in 1956.

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Dancers prep at the Hanoi Opera House #vietnam

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Instagram storytelling works best with enticing narrative

Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game September 3, 2016 at the Georgia Dome. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=240mm]

Disclaimer: I have been researching how to do a better job of writing captions that are story oriented and yet still journalistic. This is some of the research I have done. If you were to grade my caption writing at the moment I think at best it is just a passing grade. I hope what I have found helps not just you but me in the future to write better captions.

If you are to Google how to write a caption you will find very similar guidelines often based on the Associated Press model.

This is straight from my guidelines that I got from Mark E. Johnson for teaching Intro to Photojournalism.

Good captions have five basic elements

Who?
What?
Where?
When?
Why?

The first sentence needs to have the first four items in it – who, what, where and when. The second sentence is used to explain why this photo is important to the viewer. Quotes can be used in the second sentence or in a third if it helps advance understanding of the image.

All captions are written in AP style – names, titles, dates, locations, etc – and in the present tense.

The standard comments on length are often like this:

Keep it brief: You do not need to summarize the entire story in the caption; it should supplement or complement the story. If the caption is as deep as the photo, it’s too long! Please keep captions to a couple lines.

When you have just a photo and a caption that is not part of a story, then the caption must do more. It need to tell the story.

Monetization is what is driving many of the changes in journalism today. One of the topics discussed more and more is your engagement score when it comes to analytics which helps you know if the audience is reading your stories.

As you can see from this chart Instagram accounts for the highest number of actions by far of the 4 networks measured, but the lowest number of posts. Instagram’s higher engagement rates are in part, due to high use of visuals and limited, user-friendly response icons.

What this means is that right now the best way to tell stories to an audience is actually through Instagram.

If you are a News Outlet and wanting to leverage the Social Media according to THE ASSOCIATION OF MAGAZINE MEDIA only Instagram will work.

So if you are working really hard on a story and want the most eyes on it, then Instagram is one of the best mediums today.

I must be very honest and say that I was blown away by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of NY Instagram feed when it came to how many followers he has acquired.

By the way Brandon started by posting to Facebook and still does. He has 18 million followers on Facebook.

Here is a video of Brandon Stanton where he shares what he does to get stories of random people on the streets of NY and now the world. I am sharing this because many of the students I teach read my blog and I am all about teaching people how to do storytelling. I think this is great just for learning how to meet people, take their photo, and find their story.

Stanton now has 8.2 million followers. This is a crazy number for sure. Stanton’s website www.humansofnewyork.com has 18 million followers. Be sure and see how Stanton writes his captions today.

To give you some context his numbers are DOUBLE that of the New York Times. So Brandon Stanton is actually bigger in followers than the NYTimes. The New York Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”. So having a bigger following that them is huge. This is why I wanted to study what he does and how I too can engage my audience better.

Brandon was doing this all through the caption.

I wanted to know how to write engaging journalistic captions that tell stories with my photos going forward.

Good Instagram captions come in all shapes and sizes, from short and sweet to longer, in-depth stories (Instagram captions can be as long as 2200 characters). Which is enough to tell a short story with a photo.

The idea here is you can also add more photos to this post, but you are still limited to 2200 characters.

Here are some tips I have come across in many places, so I think they are now common knowledge to many.

I think the general rule in social media is to use the inverted pyramid of writing style.

Another way to start as well in social media is  the “anecdotal lead”, which begins the story with an eye-catching tale or anecdote rather than the central facts.

When I teach how to create a multimedia piece [which is video] for social media we teach that the first 4 to 8 seconds you need to hook the audience. We often used something so different for those 4 to 8 seconds as a tease and would go to black to then start the story.

You can still be journalistic in your writing, but you need to engage the reader with something that will keep them reading. I really think you are writing in a more entertaining style but do not go so far as to lose the journalistic credibility.

One thing that is quite different with Instagram is that readers can comment, as long as you have that turned on for your posts. This has created something new for those writing captions. The call to action.

The simple act of including a call-to-action in your Instagram caption and inviting your audience to comment or engage can go a very long way it when it comes to driving more engagement on your posts.

The idea is that you are creating a following. This is very similar to getting subscribers.

You should also consider turning your call-to-action into a question, using the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) as a way to encourage your followers to comment!

Aside from the obvious tips on using proper grammar and spelling, one of the most important parts of any good Instagram caption is brand voice. For many journalists they follow the AP Style Guide. Some organizations like NPR have their own caption style guide.

Hashtags

When adding hashtags to your Instagram caption, don’t limit yourself to keeping them at the end! Integrating hashtags throughout your post adds dimension to your caption, and since hashtags are a different color on Instagram, the right hashtag can also highlight and contextualize your content.

The hashtags help organize and categorize photos and video content, which aids the process of content discovery and optimization.

For example, a sports blogger could post a picture of an action shot, and then use the hashtags #actionphoto #actionphotography and #championship when it’s uploaded to Instagram.

Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to use the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience.

So, how are you supposed to find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags? The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using.

One last tip about #Hashtags keep them to 5 or less. That might change but more than that the algorithms instagram uses to put your post up higher in feeds will ding you if they are too many right now.

What about legit Journalism on Instagram?

You may be very interested in how major news outlets are writing stories to accompany their photos on Instagram. I know I was very interested.

Here are some mainline media instagram feeds.

 

Today I believe one of the best places for the photojournalist to publish the stories they want to tell is on Instagram. To do so, these journalists are going to have to change the way they write their captions.

I hope this helps you think of how to engage your audience with the 5 Ws and limiting this to 2200 characters.

Here are some photojournalists worth following on Instagram.

Lynsey Addario

An American photojournalist, Lynsey, takes us to through the raw nooks and corners of the world with her photographs, building a visually pleasureful experience for us to witness the world through her eyes.

Ed Kashi

Documenting the on-going mayhem at Syria, Kashi a photojournalist, filmmaker and lecturer through his Instagram is portraying the world of Syrian refugees, oozing of emotions and getting us up, close, and personal with their misery amongst the others.

Andrew Quilty

As his bio reads ‘Stories not selfies’, this storyteller has embarked upon a journey to take us along with the naked world, putting out the beauties and flawless imperfections through this photographs.

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Flying toward Jalalabad Airfield—formerly a civilian airport, now occupied by US military—before continuing on to Achin District and the Mohmand Valley, where a US Army Operational Detachment Alpha team is fighting the Islamic State Khorasan Province with their Afghan National Army Special Forces counterparts. They are the third ODA to be based out of an Afghan farm compound turned COP Blackfish. Although two Afghan SF soldiers, and a member of their mine clearance team were killed, and one ODA member wounded during their deployment, most of the ISKP fighters they’d been sent to clear the valley of had either been killed or had relocated to districts to the north. There have been more than 50 suicide bombings and complex attacks and more than 800 deaths—mostly civilians—claimed by ISKP since the “Hamza” operations began in April 2017. Photo: @andrewquilty. April 2018. Full story here: The Last Americans Fighting in Afghanistan https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/opinion/sunday/american-military-afghanistan-islamic-state.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share #nangarhar #afghanistan #chinook

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Randy Olson

Overwhelmed with emotions, hues and drama, Olson has his own perspective towards the world and he’s putting it across through spectacular visuals.

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This is the HQ of ZERO WASTE FRANCE in Paris. They’ve been leading the Zero Waste movement for 20 years. 23 cities have just agreed to become zero waste. This is from C40.org "Cities around the world are pledging to reduce waste over the next 12 years in an effort to curb global warming and eventually become zero-waste cities. During the Global Climate Action Summit, the C40 announced a new initiative that encourages cities to eliminate waste production and end the practice of waste burning. So far, 23 cities have agreed to become zero-waste and will work toward that goal by “reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50 percent … and increase the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70 percent by 2030,” #zerowaste #planetorplastic #plasticwaste @thephotosociety @natgeocreative

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There are six great aquifers in the world. In North America our great aquifer is the Ogallala—it stretches from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle. Twenty percent of our food and 40 percent of our beef rely on the aquifer. It’s unfortunate that we’ve pumped the equivalent of two Lake Eries out, setting the stage for a new desert in the Texas panhandle and southern Kansas in the immediate future. The aquifer recharges at different rates. Nebraska wins the water lottery; it is the only place you can see Ogallala water at the surface. The Ogallala takes a long time to recharge in Texas, where there are the most wells, the least regulation, the hottest temperatures (even before climate change), and the slowest recharge. Entire communities in this area are already running out of water. Scarcity of water, fragile infrastructure, small dust bowls, the family farm crisis, Big Ag, and global urbanization leave some behind with few options. Small towns are disintegrating around their residents. There is rampant meth and opioid addiction in some of these places. If your hot water heater breaks, there isn’t anyone in your entire county that can fix it. I am from the Midwest, and the pain rural folks have gone through showed up this election. I saw this frustration first-hand working on the Ogallala aquifer story that ran in the August 2016 issue of National Geographic, but I never thought the level of frustration of these communities would manifest itself in this way. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety

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Gary S. Chapman

Because impacting lives matters, Gary helps organizations tell their stories visually. He has covered humanitarian stories in more than 70 countries around the world, helping groups create awareness, express their vision and build their community. You can trust him to bring an honest, photojournalistic approach to your commercial, corporate, editorial, or non-profit assignments.

Talk Your Way In, Shoot Your Way Out

Billy Weeks enjoys meeting people and talking to them about their story at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Friday Night, October 5, 2018. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 320, ƒ/3.6, 1/100]
This past weekend I was asked to join the UGA Photojournalism workshop in Perry, Georgia as they covered the State Fair. I was asked to serve as a coach to the students.

These are very bright students who many have only been shooting with a DSLR for less than a year. Prior to buying their first DSLR they were just using their smartphones.

Vendors are waiting for the crowds to build at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Friday Night, October 5, 2018. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 500, ƒ/4, 1/100]
They are still learning about their cameras and how to use some of the creative tools of Aperture & Shutter Speed to help in their storytelling. They were also learning how to capture stories in a visual way.

Miranda Kay Daniel is getting some tips from UGA professor Dodie Cantrell Bickley during the photojournalism workshop at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 12800, ƒ/14, 1/90]
After spending time at the Fair shooting, we asked them to come back to our meeting room and download their photos and get some critiques from the coaches before going back. They were doing this every couple hours from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm. Many of the students walked some 6 to 10 miles covering the fair and getting back and forth to our meeting room.

Allison Carter, one of the coaches talks with photojournalism student during the workshop held at themGeorgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 12800, ƒ/14, 1/50]
There was one common theme that I was talking to the students about over and over. I could tell from their photos a couple things. They needed to get physically closer and they need to talk more to their subjects and get to know them. The photos were very distant physically and emotionally.

Well I have been teaching this for 30+ years and then on Saturday I finally found the phrase in my thoughts to articulate this concept to the students.

Mike Haskey talks with Gigi Kwan about how to improve her photos by using longer lens to compress her photos during the workshop at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/3.7, 1/100]
Every one of the instructors were all saying how we often leave our cameras in our car and build relationships first and then get our gear. Well they were not able to do this at the fair. They had to carry their camera gear all the time. So how to tell them some concept that will help them see what they need to do was my problem.

Bita Honarvar talks with Hamilton Armit giving him some tips to improve his work. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 2000, ƒ/3.5, 1/100]
I also needed to help them know how to shoot a variety of images using their widest lens to the tightest lens.

UGA professor “Dodie” Cantrell Bickley gets animate to make her point to her granddaughter who also came to the workshop on how to pursue interesting photos. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 1600, ƒ/4.8, 1/100]
“Forget the camera right now. See how we are sitting beside each other?” I said to a few students. Then I would move my chair a few feet from them. “Which feels more intimate?” You need to start by talking with the person I said. Then it is much easier to start with your wide angle lens to capture them up close and intimate.

While I was talking about this concept with a student, I had the “Ah Ha Moment”.

“Talk your way in and then shoot your way out,” was coming out of my mouth. I wish I had thought of saying it this way many years ago.

I explained the benefits of this process.

First, I watched many students spend time shooting and then when they asked for their names the people didn’t want to help them. Had they started with talking first then they would have saved a lot of time.

You introduce yourself and tell them you want to make their photos and would they mind.

Second, by taking some time to listen to the person and exploring their story you could look for opportunities that might work much better visually than text alone would.

Not talking to someone and shooting before you get their information can have you treating them as objects and not human if you are not careful. Talking to them helps avoid this problem.

Third, now that you have been talking it is easier to pull out the widest lens and make some photos up close. You are sitting or standing next to them.

Father enjoys watching his daughter’s first time to the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/100]
Lastly, but most important you are now able to concentrate on capturing people in relationship with other and at the state fair–Livestock!

Mutton Bustin’ is the toughest sport on wool! This event brings all of the excitement of Rodeo competition to the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. Boys and girls ages four to seven, weighing less than 60 lbs. try to ride a sheep for a full six seconds! [X-E3, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/180]
Once you have spent some time getting to know someone it is much easier to build a shot list in your head or write it down if you need.

SUGGESTED SHOT LIST

Opener: Sets the scene for the story
Decisive moment: The one moment that can by itself tell the story
Details: Besides being like visual candy to the story, help often with transitions–especially in multimedia packages
Sequences: give a little variety to a situation
High overall shot: Gives a good perspective to how the elements all fit together
Closer: Besides the classic shot of the cowboy riding off into the sunset there are other visual ways to help bring the story to a close
Portraits: These photos are great for introducing the characters of the story

Andrea Briscoe, former photographer for Gov. Deal and Phd student at Grady School of Journalism, coaches Becca Beato during the photojournalism workshop at Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 1000, ƒ/3.5, 1/100]
Now my mantra for all future teaching of photojournalism and storytelling is:

Talk Your Way In, Shoot Your Way Out

The horse arena during evening at Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/85]

Headshots require the photographer to direct the model

Michael Tolbert [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 50, ƒ/4.5, 1/160]
When working with actors for their headshots I have to feel out them and see how much direction they need.

Michael Tolbert [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 50, ƒ/5.6, 1/160]
There is a fine line between over or under directing a person.

If you over direct you are not giving them time to try and respond to your direction. If you ask them to think about something so as to elicit an expression often they need some time to wrap their head around that thought.

I prefer a very relaxed expression as if the person in the photo is listening to me. I think it is a very inviting expression and helps to pull a viewer into the photo.

Michael Tolbert [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 50, ƒ/5.6, 1/160]
While a smile is also attractive it is often done totally wrong and looks extremely fake. Here are some tips for getting a genuine expression.

One great thing to try with models is to ask them to Squinch their eyes.

First, you have to relax the muscles around your eyes; tightening them would make a squint. Next, lightly lower the top eyelid ever so slightly. But the key to a good Squinch is learning to use the ligaments to push up the bottom lid, which is the harder part to achieve.

This is also called the Smize where you are smiling with your whole face. Smizing is Tyra Banks’ secret to a stunning photo. Smizing is considered to be a look that involves smiling not only with your mouth but through using your eyes – smiling with the eyes – hence, “smize“.

 

Michael Tolbert [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 50, ƒ/5, 1/160]
Sometimes the best way to get a genuine warm smile isn’t to say smile, but rather to squint. You may have to show people how to do this, so practice in a mirror.

I often ask people thought provoking questions to get that look that they want to communicate something to you and they are looking for the right words, which they really are doing.

 

ACP Special Exhibition: Picturing Justice

Picturing Justice at the Atlanta Legal Society
Featuring the work of: Dustin Chambers, Melissa Golden, Andrew Lichtenstein, Robin Rayne & Beate Sass [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 5000, ƒ/5, 1/100]
Tonight I attended the Atlanta Legal Society’s opening reception for Picturing Justice. I was attending because my friend Robin Rayne had her photos exhibited.

Picturing Justice is an annual exhibition that explores how photography can illuminate the human stories that live behind such common shorthand as “case,” “client” and “issue.”

Robin Rayne & Kyla Rayne Nelson. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1000, ƒ/3.6, 1/60]
The core of Legal Aid’s mission is to help low-income people navigate the complexities of the court system at the most vulnerable times in their lives. Their clients face evictions, health crises, foreclosure, domestic violence, education issues and consumer challenges that can only be solved with the help of a lawyer.

People admiring Robin Rayne’s work. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/52]
[X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/7.1, 1/100]
[X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 4000, ƒ/7.1, 1/100]
People enjoyed meeting Robin Rayne and asking about her projects. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/15]
My favorite moment was a little girl enjoying the exhibited photos.

[X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 640, ƒ/3.6, 1/60]
You can see this for free. The show is up until November 30th.

4th floor
Atlanta Legal Aid Society
54 Ellis St NE
Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

Might as well sell your camera if you don’t take it with you

photo by Dorie Griggs

As my wife will tell you I never go anywhere without a camera. This is the mantra I am also telling my students if they want to get better.

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
– Chase Jarvis

Photos around Roswell [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 1000, ƒ/8, 1/60]
This is from last night just down the street from our neighborhood in Roswell, GA.

Photos around Roswell [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 1250, ƒ/9, 1/100]
We had just eaten at one of our favorite restaurants, Thai House, and walked out to see this sky. I had my camera and got a few photos.

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.”
– Aaron Rose

Photos around Roswell [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 10000, ƒ/8, 1/100]
Now I don’t always get what I imagine when I see something so spontaneous like this. You know I would love to have the Eiffel Tower in the skyline, but you make do with what is around you.

“Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.”
– Joe McNally

Photos around Roswell [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 2500, ƒ/8, 1/100]
In less than five minutes it was gone.

“In photography, you’ve got to be quick, quick, quick, quick. Like an animal and a prey.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson
Nikon D5 Video Gear

Where is your camera? Do you take it with you? If you rely mainly on your smartphone then why not just sell that other gear?

“Photography is a magical kind of art that allows people to preserve time and moments, and to describe the world the way they see it.”
– Sahara Sanders

Unless I see … I will not believe!

The power of the Words & Visuals was demonstrated this Sunday in my church.

Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, Fairyal Maqbool-Halim & Hina Mahmood, talk with Think Sunday School Class at Roswell Presbyterian Church. [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 640, ƒ/4, 1/100]
This Sunday my wife, Dorie Griggs, led our Sunday School class time by inviting her friends from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. We knew from some of the comments made in our church that there were many misconceptions about Muslims. Dorie knew from her own experience that getting to know people of other faiths was a way to break down barriers and also in the process to grow deeper in her own faith.

The word “prejudice” can literally be broken down into “pre-” and “judgment.” Aptly, much of prejudice stems from our pre-judging other people’s habits, customs, clothes, ways of speaking, and values. We often do this with no basis for the judgment other than the fact that they (the customs, values, food, etc) are different from our own.

As anthropologist Richard Shweder reminds us in his Psychology Today blog, the world doesn’t come with one “Truth” or one “Reality.” Rather, what we call Truth is very often a social construction that differs across cultures.
– RODOLFO MENDOZA-DENTON 

Fairyal Maqbool-Halim, Hina Mahmood, & Dorie Griggs [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 250, ƒ/3.6, 1/100]
The single best antidote to prejudice and racism?
Cross-race friendship.

Before we got into a lot of questions the speakers took some time to give us a some basic facts about the faith that for many were eye opening.

All Muslims are not Arab, Middle-Eastern or of African descent. Islam is a universal religion and way of life that includes followers from all races. There are Muslims in and from virtually every country in the world. Arabs only constitute about 20% of Muslims worldwide. The countries with the largest Muslim populations are not located in the Middle East. They are Indonesia (over 200 million Muslims) and Pakistan and India (over 350 million Muslims combined).

[X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/4, 1/100]
One of the bigger misunderstandings about their faith they wanted to clear up was the misconception that women are marginalized or lesser than men.

Everyone in their faith has direct access to God. Very similar concept to the Christian “Priesthood of the Believer.” Therefore they are not below a man, but rather equal to the man in the eyes of God.

They also talked about the Hijab – The term can refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to a certain standard of modesty. They pointed out how not all Muslim women wear one and it was clearly demonstrated between the two of them. They talked each about their reasons for not wearing one and one wearing one.

Jokingly they said for the woman she often says, “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.” They were trying to explain how men have the duty to take care of not just themselves, the household, but their wife and children with what they earn. However whatever the women earns is her’s alone.

[X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 500, ƒ/4, 1/100]
What was good to see this Sunday morning was each of us learning about the “other”.

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.

Since we live in an open society as far as faith, we must learn to live together. Our time together was one house of worship getting together with another house of worship for dialogue and understanding. We were not trying to convert each other.

Realizing this doesn’t happen over just one interaction Fairyal Maqbool-Halim and a few other women [some from our church] formed Women’s Interfaith Network – WIN.

Born in 1928, Catholic theologian and church critic Hans Küng made his mark as a promoter of dialogue between religions and as president of the Global Ethic Foundation.

“No peace among the nations, without peace between the religions! No peace between the religions without dialog between the religions!” Those are two central sentences of your World Ethic principle. 

Hans Küng believed Religion can co-exist with democracy.

Fairyal Maqbool-Halim, Dorie Griggs, & Hina Mahmood [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1600, ƒ/6.4, 1/100]
Maybe you want to learn more about your Muslim friends and coworkers. Contact the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta and see about a panel coming to your organization.

You may also want to check out the Women’s Interfaith Network – WIN. That is a link to their Facebook page where up coming events are posted.

John 20:24-29 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

One of my most favorite scriptures that I believe highlights the role of the photojournalist to be a visual storyteller. By photographing, editing, and presenting images, they tell a story in a way that no other media can. The photographs serve the purpose of enhancing the story for the reader or viewer.

Robin Rayne Nelson asks, “What’s Your Passion?”

Robin Nelson speaks to the Introduction to Photojournalism class part of the curriculum of the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication at University of Georgia on September 28, 2018. [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/27]
Robin Rayne Nelson spoke to two of my intro to photojournalism classes today.  I love my job. As a photojournalist I got to meet and photograph some of the most interesting people.

Teaching photojournalism gives me an excuse to invite some of my heroes of photojournalism to speak to the class.

This is one of my photojournalism books I have had for years. Robin is one of the photographers whose work is part of the Black Star Picture Agency. Robin was on staff with them for years.

Black Star, also known as Black Star Publishing Company, was started by refugees from Germany who had established photographic agencies there in the 1920s. Today it is a New York City-based photographic agency with offices in London and in White Plains, New York. It is known for photojournalism, corporate assignment photography and stock photography services worldwide. It is noted for its contribution to the history of photojournalism in the United States. It was the first privately owned picture agency in the United States, and introduced numerous new techniques in photography and illustrated journalism. The agency was closely identified with Henry Luce’s magazines Life and Time.

Black Star was formed in December 1935. The three founders were Kurt Safranski, Ernest Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld. In 1964, the company was sold to Howard Chapnick. The three founders; Safranski, Mayer and Kornfeld were German Jews who fled Berlin during the Nazi regime.

Noted Black Star photographers include Robert Capa, Andreas Feininger, Germaine Krull, Philippe Halsman, Martin Munkácsi, Kurt Severin, W. Eugene Smith, Marion Post-Wolcott, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Charles Moore, James Nachtwey, Lee Lockwood, Mario Giacomelli and Spider Martin.

Robin took photos of the Klu Klux Klan in 1985 that was published in the book.

We showed a short documentary Robin produced and then took just 6 of Robin’s photos for the class to see and discuss the back story of each of the photos.

Here are Robin’s photos we talked about:

Young girl in Atlanta, GA with Down Syndrome in inclusive class with non-challenged children yet still receives all the one-on-one attention she needs from special education teachers. Model Released. [NIKON D3S, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/7.1, 1/160]
SARAH ALLEN is both single mother and full-time — though untrained –nurse to her son Aidan, born with cerebral palsy and complex medical issues. State Medicaid regulations severely limit the number of hours her medically fragile son can have in-home nursing care, regardless of his doctor’s orders for medical necessity. Aidan needs 24-7 care and constant tube feeding. Sarah may soon be homeless because the house where she lives will be sold, and she has limited resources to find another home suitable for a severely disabled child. Her story illustrates several serious shortfalls within the Medicaid and Social Security Disability systems. PICTURED: Sarah cleans her son from a diaper changing. [NIKON D4, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/80]
Ben and Sam Schwenker, now 8 years old, were both diagnosed with autism when they were 18 months old. “Raising them is a daily challenge. We were so not prepared, but we learn more every day, ” says Jennifer, the boys’ mother.
Autism spectrum disorders cut across all lines of race, class, and ethnicity. Autism impacts millions of children, adults, and their families around the world. Boys have a significantly higher incidence of autism than girls: four out of every five people with autism are male. Because of the genetic link, siblings of a child with autism have a greater chance of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorders affect not only the person diagnosed with the disorder, but also make a significant impact on the entire family with a variety of social, financial, and other practical demands.
PICTURED: Now 8 years old, Sam (in yellow) and Ben still spend much of their day after school and weekends on their trampoline. They are still non-verbal but understand some of what they hear. [NIKON D700, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 250, ƒ/8, 1/80]
Erika Jones, 32, is on the slow path to recovery from a brain tumor that left her paralyzed and unable to speak more than a few words. Her mother Joyce Jones insisted she be moved back into her family’s home rather than a nursing facility. “I am committed to caring for my baby until the day I die,” Joyce explained. “She wouldn’t get that love in a nursing home.”
Pictured: Erika displays her attempt to write her name [NIKON D4, 17.0-35.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 1000, f/7.1, 1/125]
ZIYA YEWDALL loves pink, My Little Pony toys and clothes, Barbie dolls, sparkly head bands and dresses just like untold thousands of six-year-old girls across the country. Except that Ziya was assigned male and birth and considers himself to be a boy, but maybe a girl, too. “Ziya is gender-fluid,” explains Faith Yewdall, Ziya’s open-minded mother. Faith and Ziya’s dad Eli support and affirm’s their child’s gender identity and expression, which might be more boyish one day and more feminine the next. “Ziya is a mix of both genders, falling somewhere in the middle,” Faith explains.
Pictured: Ziya, wearing cherished Batman pajamas, outside family’s home. [NIKON D4, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 250, ƒ/6.3, 1/100]
Ki Minda sits at the kitchen counter at sunrise in his daughter’s home, unsure what he’s waiting for. He was a gregarious, extroverted and successful business executive for most of his life but his cognitive functioning has steadily diminished due to vascular dementia. [NIKON D750, 17.0-35.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 1250, f/5, 1/40]
We didn’t have any of the captions when we showed them to the class. I asked the class to tell me what they thought the story was for each photo. Robin was surprised as to how good they were at reading the photos visually.

After a couple of minutes Robin then told us the story and the back story to the photo.

Students were able to ask Robin questions.

One great quote Robin said to both classes and worth leaving here about finding your passion.

We are known by the company we keep and the passions we pursue.
The biggest question Robin asked was what is your WHY?

 

Don’t treat photos on your camera like your phone photos

SD Card [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/800]
I am noticing more and more people are treating their DSLR or Mirrorless camera like their phones when it comes to photo storage and that is a mistake.

Workflow with photos

  1. Take photos preferably RAW which is stored on your memory card in the camera.
  2. Take memory card out of camera to transfer images to computer. Leaving in camera and using your cable to connect to the computer drains your camera battery and if it goes out while transferring you can corrupt the card and lose images.
  3. Put card in card reader if your computer doesn’t have one built in.
  4. Download all the images or select all that you want to keep and transfer those to a folder on an external hard drive. I call the folder “PROJECT NAME RAW”
  5. Edit photos in Adobe Lightroom or similar software. Export the finished files as JPEGs to a folder on the external drive. I call the folder “PROJECT NAME JPEGs”
  6. Make a backup of your RAW and JPEGs to another external hard drive.
  7. Put memory card back in camera and format in the camera.

SD Card Reader [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/180]
According to a SanDisk technical support specialist:

There are two methods to erase the images that are stored on your memory card.

Using the camera’s menu to ‘format’ removes all files and sets up the memory card for use in the camera. ‘Delete’ (ie. erase) on the other hand removes one image after another. Therefore, it is a good idea to occasionally format a memory card (in the camera and not on a computer). Delete the images if you wish to cleanup the memory card daily.

Formatting helps clear the card of extraneous issues from standard use. Erasing images just tells your camera that it’s okay to write over the images already on your card. So you will not actually remove images, but just take images over the existing ones. This always leaves ‘traces’ of data on the card. By formatting it you actually remove the images before taking new ones. So you will start of with a fresh data free card.

Many people have corrupted images due to delete images on their cards because it leaves ‘traces’ of data which corrupted the images.

There is one more method for handling of images and memory cards. Keep your images on your card and buy new memory cards.

I know many people who just buy lots of memory cards and use them once. This then becomes one of the backups for the images.

Right now for example you can buy SD Memory cards for as low as $4 for 32gb. Most of the highly rated 32gb SD Cards hover around $15 – $20 at the time of writing this post.

Summary

When you start a new project you want a freshly formatted memory card in your camera. You will avoid more problems with losing images rather than putting a card in the camera with images on it.

There is only one thing better than this practice and that is owning a camera with two card slots that you record the images simultaneously to two cards. Either a duplicate or RAW on one and JPEGs on the other. If you are shooting something that can’t be done again, i.e. wedding, you better have a second card slot.