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.
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