Western Kentucky University
On Tuesday, I helped judge some final portrait portfolios, via Skype, for the Photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University (my alma mater, if you can say that if you never graduated). Also judging was Chris Stanford, from Atlanta. Tim Broekema is the professor for that class. Looking back on it, the whole process was pretty intense — seeing all that work at one time, and trying to be honest and not candy-coat the feedback, but also trying to be supportive. I think the last thing a student needs in these crazy times is candy-coating, especially as a senior. Especially as a PJ major. Never before in the history of the world has there been such a glut and oversupply of photographers. At some point, the rent is going to come due, and you gotta do something to not live under the Shelby Street bridge.
Anyway, Tim and Chris and I have been emailing each other, since that day, and today, Tim sent these two links for review. I had been bitching to him about these young kids getting too involved with gear, and flash units, and all the things that keeps them being truly being with their subject — and the importance of avoiding people/photographers that seem too sales-motivated, with hokey gear (to get in the way). I’ll let you fill in the names. I’d teach a class where every student only had one body and a 35 1.4, and they’d duct tape their body on ASA 6400, and wide open, and no other gear, and they just get in the car and go see the world, and hang with interesting people. Be a human being first, and then a photographer second. Chris cited Danny Clinch, during the Skype session; I agree with Chris. I’d probably add Ryan McGinley to the list as well, maybe minus the sparklers.
Anyway, here are these two links. Both links give me hope for young photographers coming out of a photojournalism school in the year 2012.
Edit: After I posted this, I saw this link on Joerg’s site. I love the Artist Statement on the body of work. I feel this about young people — so many options and distractions. Nice images too.
“Every new day gives us hundreds of opportunities. Gigabytes of new information, armfuls of exciting events, kilometres of unexplored places, chances of adventitious meetings – all this is waiting for us with the beginning of each 24-hour time span, which we are to use as effectively and rationally as possible, acting profitably and getting a satisfactory result. It could seem that realization of this fact is sure to inspire us. The problem is that the variety of alternatives and the great number of possibilities result in a deep fear of losing something really essential, missing some unique events or relevant information. Consequently, the fear leads to an inner catatony, a moment of floating in the air, which paralyzes our will and puts us into inexplicable panic. The endless variety of choices that we have to make doesn’t let us decide on anything. Instead of taking up new challenges, we stay at home in our cosy and safe little world which is ready to keep us away from the stream of this impetuous life beyond it.”