Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Inner Vision: Day 32 - 35

Jennifer Kay is a Miami-based reporter for The Associated Press who has enrolled in Iris' IPC Visual Lab. Before moving to Miami in 2005, Kay was an editorial assistant in the AP’s Philadelphia bureau, and previously graduated in 2001 from Dartmouth College, where she was the photography editor of the daily student newspaper. Kay is looking to expand her knowledge of the visual language and to engage in the process of visual story-telling. Her blog will be a common feature for the next several month on the Iris PhotoCollective's Iris Rising series.

Day 32: Glass
It's almost a mirror image, but the asymmetry gives the frame more interest because it raises questions: Who left these here? A half-empty bottle makes sense, but who carries around a glass tumbler and then leaves it on a wall outside Whole Foods!

When: 22 April, 6:51 p.m.
Where: outside Whole Foods, South Beach
Exposure: F3.7, 1/500, ISO800
Inner thoughts: The larger assignment is to explore my block, so I'm trying to incorporate that into the daily frame assignments. Sometimes it's not the people that are so interesting to me as the evidence of people.

Day 33: Themes
A tighter crop on this frame focuses the viewer on its opposite themes: age and youth, hands and feet, beginnings and endings.

When: 23 April, 5:27 p.m.
Where: Mundelein, IL
Exposure: F3.5, 1/80, ISO1600
Inner thoughts: I have to be honest, I really didn't want to do anything more than hang out with my family. I feel like I should have worked the angles on this more while my mother put tiny sandals onto my niece's tiny feet.

Day 34: Eyes
When I shot this image, the focus for me was on the strawberry and the girl's gesture. She wanted to feed me this strawberry. What Carol focused on, though, was the kindness and determination in her eyes. A clean background also makes this image work by not distracting from the girl's face or gesture.

When: 24 April, 2:22 p.m.
Where: Mundelein, IL
Exposure: F4, 1/100, ISO2500
Inner thoughts: Toddlers do, in fact, toddle, and quickly. It was difficult to get a clean frame of a fast-moving person in low light.

Day 35: Window
Again, a tighter crop sharpens the focus on the relationship between these train passengers, and between the passengers and their environment. I liked Carl's interpretation of the image, that the passengers looked like fish looking through the glass of their fish bowl.

When: 25 April, 12:10 p.m.
Where: Metra train, somewhere northwest of Chicago
Exposure: F4, 1/200, ISO2500
Inner thoughts: This marks the half-way point of this daily frame project. I wanted to capture the light coming through the windows on this train on a cloudy day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Iris Rising: I Am Multimedia Journalist

United Nations security officers raise national flags in front of the UN complex during the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York City on June 9, 2011.

"My name is Aaron Morrison and I'm a photographer." Whenever I've said those words, I want to take them back seconds later. Don't get me wrong -- I think I have a good "eye" for making compelling images. I so much admire the stories and the images, captured by photojournalists that I've met or come in contact with over the years, that I feel embarrassed to claim a level of artistry any where near theirs. And, no, I'm not kissing their feet. But I've amassed a healthy amount of respect for photojournalism and for the people who do it well. Iris PhotoCollective's Carl Juste reminded me of that. Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of working with him during a news reporting fellowship at the United Nations in New York City. Before we arrived I told Carl that I rarely have the opportunity to make images for stories at my New Jersey newspaper. He made sure I got plenty of opportunities during the fellowship. I was able to compile a short photo essay on the U.N. flags.

A woman, holding her child, stops in front of the United Nations complex to watch security officers raise national flags during the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York City on June 9, 2011.

I gave it the college try. And I learned from Carl that making images deserves my undivided attention. Young and beginning journalists today are pressured to be good a five different crafts, but never really master any one of them. Just because I can shoot video and images, write and edit stories, blog and design for the web, and produce podcasts, doesn't mean I should do them all at the same time. Doing so only benefits the business of journalism, but never serves the story or the people in it.

United Nations security officer Ruthven Atkins helps to raise the national flags in front of the UN complex during the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York City on June 9, 2011.

Carl helped remind me of that. Lastly, I relate to the Iris PhotoCollective's purpose: "...to create a record that is free of the dominant culture, while maintaining the integrity and principles of photojournalism." I look for opportunities to do that daily. Sure, I'm no big shot photojournalist with war zone experience or fancy awards on my mantle. But no one out there will tell a story through the lens that I will. My name is Aaron Morrison and I'm a young, black and educated photographer. Suddenly, I feel better about saying that.

National flags are raised and lowered each morning and afternon in front of the United Nations complex. Here the flags are lowered during the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York City on June 8, 2011.

Aaron Morrison is a New Jersey-based multimedia journalist, working for the Gannett Company's newspaper group in the northern part of the state. He is a California native and a 2009 graduate of San Francisco State University with his bachelors of arts in journalism.