Monday, January 11, 2010

Iris Rising: Southern Mississippi Photojournalism Workshop 2010

Adreain Jean Reynolds , 18, Bruce, MS, 12th grade, Bruce High School

Have you ever wanted something so bad you can feel it at the tip of your fingers? Right there just an inch out of reach, gripping at your heart like it belongs to no one but you, designed distinctly for one purpose and one purpose alone- to fulfill your utmost desire, to leave you with a feeling of self satisfaction, and most of all to help you reach a higher wisdom. Have you ever worked at something so diligently and faithfully that when the work is done no one can destroy your circle of joy and happiness? When I first came to Hattiesburg I was skeptical about EVERYTHING... Maybe I wasn't the one for this opportunity, maybe I have gotten myself into something I can't handle! However, at the end of Saturday, I knew this was it! I had found my closure. The feeling I had was immeasurable. I MAKE photos now! On my way to Hattiesburg I got my own camera out to take some pictures, after a while I gave up. My mother said," Adreain you wanted to take pictures, but there is nothing to take." That moment, I agreed but now as I leave with a lot more sense of knowing, I knew its not about what's out there is about what I MAKE!!

Ross Scarbrough 17 carries the stray dog back to his kennel at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (Photo/Adreain Reynolds)

Shayan Asadi, 16, Columbus, MS, 11th grade, Heritage Academy

I have been interested in photography since I received my first camera in second grade, becoming serious in the past two years. The USM photojournalism workshop has made me a new person. I no longer see in the same light or think in the same way. I experienced things I found unimaginable before the workshop. The oppurtunity to work with such highly esteemed photojournalists, itself, was amazing. However, it was my assignment, Dynasty Hair Design, that has made the greatest difference. I was very reluctant going into my assignment thinking I would have to photograph someone I did not know. Little did I know that there was more to the assignment than simply photographing someone. Being the only white person there, I was very intimidated. Everyone in the barber shop was constantly staring at me. However, I learned that I had to gain everyone’s trust before I could do anything else. After having conversations and sharing laughs with Mrs. Sandra, I started to gain her trust and was able to start taking pictures. I learned that one has to be uncomfortable first in order to become comfortable. The workshop has given me a new motivation, not to take pictures but to make pictures.

Greg Glass cuts a young man's hair as his father waits for his turn. Sandra Wilis's barber shop, Dynasty Hair Design, experiences slow flow of customers due to cold winter weather, in Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (Photo/Shayan Asadi)

Jana Edwards, 19, Freshman, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

When I first applied for this project, I wasn't really sure what to expect. One thing is for sure, I was not expecting to walk away with the experience and and knowledge that I did. I am quickly learning that the quiet moments captured by a photographer are moments to be respected and treasured. Andre, Carl, Clarence and Pablo were so dedicated to helping us with every aspect of photojournalism. They are amazing photographers and even better people. They taught us so many aspects of photography that I have never even considered. Any questions or concerns that I had, they had the answer and the solution. Photography consists of many different elements. But, when the light hits just right, and the moment is perfect, a photograph is more than all the technical stuff. It becomes a moment of passion that will forever be captured in a single image. I will never forget or take for granted the things I learned while participating in this project and I can only hope that I will one day be half the photographer these guys are.

James Moore, the owner of Moore's Bike Shop and the operator of Moore's Bike Museum, smiles as he reflects the origin of the Schwinn sign behind him in Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (Photo/Jana Edwards)

Please visit to view Andre Chung's latest photo essay entitled "Southern Exposure."