Stepping Behind The Lens of a Photojournalist

Float Like A Butterfly
Junior Art student, Doyen Phamunior, pins her hand-made butterfly onto the ceiling of the Visual Arts building, to await critique in her Foundation 3D course.

I was walking to class and stumbled upon Phamunior, high above me in the air, reaching above her head. At first, shooting was a slightly uncomfortable and difficult. When I asked Phamunior if I could photograph her she was quite timid. In addition to that, my frame was being disrupted by groups of students that were passing us. Unable to compose the shot I wanted I became flustered. Phamunior’s body language reciprocated my discomfort. In the first photos I captured she was unnatural and rigid, so I took some time to allow for the hallways to clear. After some small talk and a couple composed clicks she resumed the state I initially observed her in. I started to relax, and move to more visually interesting angles.

The lines formed from the various parts of the ladder lead to the subject, Phamunior, hanging her piece. A frame is produced around the subject, as she is placed within an opening created by the handles of the ladder. Pattern is also depicted from the repeated designs found on the steps of the ladder and the ceiling of the hallway.

Did You See That?
Ryan Heller (left) shows off his interesting choice of eyewear, as he and Connor Hansen (right) wait for Goldwire to begin his set at The Black Box in Denver, CO. last Thursday.

I attended Goldwire’s set, on Feb. 20th, at The Black Box with hopes to capture something that properly portrayed the electronic music community I know and love. I stood waiting as technicians moved hastily on stage during the final interlude before Goldwire, to which my attention was intercepted by an enormous amount of laughter. I turned to locate the uproar of noise and saw Heller and Hansen. With each movement Heller made his ‘eyes’ bounced two or three times. I knew he was the quirky and lovable subject I was looking for. Heller was lost in the darkness of the room in the first shots I took, forcing me to compromise my covertness with the use of my flash. The flash gained the attention of Heller and everyone around me. Every additional photo I took he became too posed, which resulted in this photo being the initial ‘flash’ photo I captured.

Heller and his glasses, the main subject, are placed within one-third of the composition. The leftover space of the composition is filled by Hansen. This balances the visual weight of Heller, and makes the composition visually pleasing.

DJ-ing in The Dark
Goldwire plays a lowly-lit experimental dubstep set at The Black Box, in Denver, CO., last Thursday. The Black Box, consistent with its name, includes minimal lighting to bring focus to what matters most. The music.

The Black Box has a low capacity of 300, which produces an intimate concert experience for attendees. This allowed me to comfortably move throughout the venue and compose photos of Goldwire. I found the absence of light to be challenging to photograph in, so instead of trying to oppose this element I worked with it. Manipulation of the dark (and a great deal of patience) assisted me in composing this photo. 

Although this photo is extremely dark, viewers are able to make out the important visual components. This is due to the contrast of Goldwire’s black silhouette against the white lights shining from behind him. Contrast is also employed within the left side of the photograph as a result of the red-lit hallway. The red is contrasted, and therefore generates a powerful inclusion of color.

‘Pressure’ Handles The Pressure
Ismael Dominguez, (red scarf), stands behind his piece, titled Pressure, placed on display at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. Pressure is comprised of a vast amount of wax moldings suspended from the ceiling, creating a partial person surrounded by spikes. Dominguez won five awards at the 45th Annual Juried UW Student Exhibition, and his piece was purchased by The University of Wyoming.

As I walked through the gallery of the Student Exhibition, observing the various works on display, I was immediately pulled toward Dominguez’s Pressure. I circled the levitating piece several times, as different arrangements of the work were created at every angle I examined it.

Composing a photograph I liked was difficult. It was nearly impossible to present every one of Pressure’s captivating attributes, while including a visible Dominguez in frame. The longer I took the more he moved. I felt frustrated. Soon after my initial feelings of annoyance, Dominguez began to exhibit behaviors that he was conscious of me and my camera. His pleased smile reminded me of the point of this photograph. He was the center of my narrative, not the actual piece.

Viewer’s eyes are moved throughout the left-side of the image by the repetition of the black cones incorporated into the piece. Dominguez and his peers are also seen wearing black, creating a relationship of color between him and his work. Pressure and Dominguez are placed on separate ends of the composition producing a balanced photo.

He Shoots!
Abraham Ross pulls up to shoot a mid-range jumper as he is guarded by Connor Beeston (5) and Jake Maksin (12) during an intramural basketball game Monday night. Ross’s team, “Jimmer Range,” defeated their opponents, “Dunk Dynasty,” 65-53 at the Half-Acre Gymnasium.

I encountered an intramural basketball game as I visited Half-Acre in hopes to capture a sports-related photo. I find sports photography to be intimidating. I have no experience with it, nor any knowledge of it really. I moved back-and-forth from the baseline to the sideline capturing hundreds of photos over the course of the game. I found it difficult for numerous reasons, including: I didn’t know who or what to keep my camera on, I didn’t have the time to really sit and compose my shots and I couldn’t get as close to my subjects as I wanted. I felt very out of my comfort zone with this shoot.

This shoot instilled the point of time and place in photography. Sometimes the most important aspect of taking a photo is the instant you press click. Luckily I ‘clicked’ during this moment.

The arms of the players created lines that lead the viewer’s eyes to Ross and the ball. The visual repetition of the Dunk Dynasty player’s jerseys create balance and move viewers around the composition. The jerseys are yellow, which is cohesive with the background and backboard of the hoop.

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