Audio Slideshow: Joy Amuedo, Local Artist

Joy Amuedo Character Profile from Katie Bell on Vimeo.

I struggle with audio a lot, so this project was definitely a challenge for me. I enjoyed spending time with Joy in her home, which is clearly more hers than her husband’s since there are tid bits of art projects in the works in practically every room. The audio was challenging though because Joy is an animal lover. She has three cats, two dogs and three birds. The dogs were barking outside so we let them in so they wouldn’t make noise, but as soon as they came in the birds started chirping. The birds could be heard clearly in every room in the house, even with the door closed and a blanket shoved in the crack between the door and the floor. I thought it could be good ambient sound, since she is constantly surrounded by her pets while she works and they are often making noises. Purring, barking, chirping, all are heard nearly around the clock at this house. But since I didn’t photograph the birds and it’s not central to the story, the chirping is more distracting than anything. Next time I’ll try and figure out what her house sounds like in advance so I can be more prepared.

False Starts

The Lamott chapter on false starts particularly spoke to me. I thought it was very true that people who are in a creative field, such as writing or photography, try and plan out everything in advance, and think they know exactly where their vision and story is going. It’s good to be prepared and do some brainstorming before they make the first stab at their project, but limiting themselves to their initial idea can blind them to other possibilities that can make the story more complex or finished. The coverage can turn into a falsity if the photographer tries to make a story something it’s not, just because it fits their framework. The photos in this type of situation usually end up looking forced and not genuine. Photojournalism is all about showing the truth, so this defeats the purpose. Opening your eyes up to every possibility can allow you to see some cool details you may have ignored before.

Another thing I really appreciated in this chapter was when she said it’s important to get to know your characters “beyond all the things they aren’t.” She said we basically have to plop down and spend time with our subjects, get to know them inside and out. Their quirks and beliefs, their habits, all of these things are a part of their humanity, and including them will only enhance the storytelling.

I really related to the chapter “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott very simply states, “You just do.” Creative people are often their hardest critics, and sometimes you’ll never be completely happy with how your story or essay turns out, but there comes a point when you just have to say there’s nothing more to do. I did my best with what was there. The mantra, “You just do”, also applies to when you know you need more. There’s just this itching feeling at the back of your brain saying, “but you need something else!” Follow that feeling until you know what it is you need. If it’s attainable, go for it! Or you’ll never forgive yourself.

Class Reading Reflection 10/13

In Hurn and Jay’s reading about photo essays, they said that most photographers work on projects, not making a single, fantastic image. And often “single images” are drawn from these projects that they have an integral part of. In my experience I’ve never gone out to make just one image. I’ve always thought there should be a story-making mentality, no matter how you think it will turn out.

They also said that how a project turns out depends greatly on what publication it’s supposed to be for. Magazines vs. newspapers, and if it was commissioned to tell a biased point of view, etc. Stories can be edited, and even manipulated, in many ways so that the feel of the entire piece can be altered significantly. It’s good for the photographer to whittle down these things and figure out why they’re doing a project so that they can shoot more in line with their intended outcome. They have to know what they’re trying to say, especially in essays, which are often about social issues and often take a more biased viewpoint than photo stories.

It’s especially important to lay out the ideas of the photo essay beforehand since they can be disjointed and confusing. It’s the photographer’s job to make sure that the story is as cohesive as possible, which is difficult when there are so many characters and settings in an essay. Doing “visual research”, as Hurn said, beforehand is very important to getting the story right.

I also found it really interesting when Hurn said that photographers often make the mistake of taking photos of the most visually interesting things, not necessarily what would represent the story or event the best. It seems counterintuitive to say that you shouldn’t only look for visually interesting things. As a photojournalist the first responsibility is to the reader, who needs to know the facts of the story. If the more true, informative images are less visually appealing, it’s the photographer’s job to make them as visually appealing as possible. The truth wins out in the end.

One-Day Photo Story

Volunteers prepare to take off from the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Volunteers prepare to take off from the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

A father and his two children watch as others approach their boat at the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

A father and his two children watch as others approach their boat at the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Bags of trash collected from the Missouri River sit on the bank at the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Bags of trash collected from the Missouri River sit on the bank at the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Two young volunteers wait for their boat at the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Two young volunteers wait for their boat at the Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Joan Read examines an animal skeleton at the River Festival in Boonville, Mo. on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.  Volunteers could submit strange findings from the Missouri River River Relief Clean-Up for prizes.

Joan Read examines an animal skeleton at the River Festival in Boonville, Mo. on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Volunteers could submit strange findings from the Missouri River River Relief Clean-Up for prizes.

A boat operator gives his boat of volunteers directions for the River Clean-Up at Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on the Missouri River. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

A boat operator gives his boat of volunteers directions for the River Clean-Up at Franklin Island Conservation Area boat ramp on the Missouri River. Adults and children alike volunteered their time to clean up different areas of the Missouri River around Boonville, Mo.

Paul Davis picks up an old bottle found in the Missouri River by a volunteer at the Missouri River Relief Clean-Up Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 in Boonville, Mo. Volunteers could submit strange trash they found in the river for prizes.

Paul Davis picks up an old bottle found in the Missouri River by a volunteer at the Missouri River Relief Clean-Up Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 in Boonville, Mo. Volunteers could submit strange trash they found in the river for prizes.

Paul Davis demonstrates the use of a comb and full bottle of hairspray at the Missouri River Relief Clean-Up Festival in Boonville, Mo. on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.  The items were submitted in the "Most Fashionable" category of strange items found by volunteers while they were cleaning the Missouri River.

Paul Davis demonstrates the use of a comb and full bottle of hairspray at the Missouri River Relief Clean-Up Festival in Boonville, Mo. on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. The items were submitted in the “Most Fashionable” category of strange items found by volunteers while they were cleaning the Missouri River.

This is my final edit for the Missouri River Relief Clean-Up and Festival. I found it a bit more difficult to photograph than I had thought initially. It can be difficult to find focus at a festival. Since the group of volunteers was constantly changing as groups were getting in different boats it was difficult to get names or to get them to spell them to me. A couple people didn’t want their names or their children’s names to be published anywhere, but were okay with me taking photos as long as they weren’t identified.

As an art photographer that’s not really an issue, as long as you have their permission you don’t necessarily need their name. But if you’re working for a publication, names are pretty necessary to run an image of someone. There are only a few, very extreme exceptions that rarely happen. In the future I suppose if I’m shooting for a journalistic publication I’ll make sure I don’t use images without names, and try not to photograph people before getting their permission and proper spelling of their names.

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