As a rule, I try not to use my phone when I’m out and about. Exploring on my own, talking with friends and family, or going to a planned event is always more rewarding to me when I see it through the eyes of a participator. This week, I tried something different. I tried seeing the world through the lens of a photojournalist.
It was difficult, a little exhausting, and entirely uncomfortably. I decided I am much happier typing at my computer in sweatpants with a steaming mug of tea than I am asking a stranger their name and if I can take their photo. But, I also discovered the unique beauty of seeing a potential story and potential shot in every scenario. These are the 5 shots I have deemed worthy (or, acceptable) to be viewed by you all.
It was snowy, cold and after a long week, I really just wanted to see the movie a friend and I decided on. Half way to Studio City, she asks if I would mind stopping by the Art Reception real quick. It piqued my interest, and I figured I should stay true to my vow to see the world through a photo-journalistic view.
It was inspiring to see the crowded art museum. The lights were warm and friendly, and the happy chatter pulsed through the room with life. Seeing the student’s pride as their art pieces were called out and recognized one by one gave me a sense of purpose as I took my pictures. These were students who deserved to be recognized.
I wanted to photograph the energy of the room, so I manipulated the viewpoint by backing into the far wall and snapped a few action shots.
My photojournalist viewpoint was first tested during a rather impromptu family trip to the tiny, isolated town of Klamuth, Oregon. We decided to drive down to the Lava Beds just into California’s territory. Lava flowed over the landscape about 100 years ago and created a diverse landscape of caves and earth bridges. It was frigid and snowy, but it didn’t stop curious hikers from exploring.
I was entranced by the beauty and otherworldly landscape, made even more prominent by the falling snow. A man standing on one leg to get a better view of the structure didn’t seem out of place at the time. I found it difficult to get a sports shot, from lack of skill or simply an untrained eye. Fortunately my phone was out at this point, so I snapped a picture before he could walk away. Because it was a reactionary shot, I didn’t really have time to set up any creative devices.
“Do you want to go to the Alpaca-“
“Just stop. You had me at Alpaca.”
And hence began the journey to Longmont, Colorado, in search for alpacas. My roommate and I drove down Saturday the 23rd. The small festival was hosted by the
Alpaca Breeders Alliance of Northern Colorado (ABANC).
The smell hit us first as we walked into the small barn. Animal, hay and the mud people tracked in permeated the air. Yet it was strangely homey. It was endearing to see the pack animals and their owners, so excited to show them off. The animals, however, were not so eager. They rarely came close enough for the people crowded around the edges to pet them, so when one finally did, I snapped a quick photo.
It doesn’t make use of any creative devices, and the positioning is awkward. Honestly, it’s not a great photo, but the opportunity was so rare and the gentleness of the act makes it a worthy photo.
Perhaps it’s bad form to feature more than one photo of the same event, but it’s alpacas.
Towards the end of the walking market, one enclosure had 7 alpacas in it. None of them wanted to be touched, but they were charmingly close to each other. My thoughts when taking this were how alike they were from a human ‘pack’. Just from the few minutes I spent trying to pet one (a failed expedition), I could tell which ones were the overprotective leaders, the anxious but loyal ones and the chill, independent ones. You could see the same personalities in the crowd around them.
In my attempt to capture this similarity, I thought the girl in front of me had hair the shade close to an alpaca’s. I tried using balancing elements to give both alpaca and human the same space in the frame, and highlight the pack-animal nature both species share.
Call me an uncultured UW student, but I have never actually had lunch at the Rendezvous cafe. It was more chaotic than I had thought. There were more people hanging out and actually taking a break than what I was doing- scarfing down bites in between textbook readings. It gave it a bright, cheery feeling, which I tried to capture by letting the light in through the windows. I used the Contrast to bring more attention to the people in the photo.
My time as a photojournalist was short lived but eventful. The next time I try capturing stories in pictures, I’ll try to be a little braver. I wish I had singled out more individuals and asked for their name and permission to take a photo. Instead, I stuck mostly to crowds. It worked in some instances, but not so well in others.