In a league of our own

It’s time for a change.

After a complete flop from our photojournalism students* at the largest national photojournalism convention, we realized we are not at all in sync. In fact, we’re so far out of sync with the rest of our peers, we are not only going to have to work harder to catch up, but we’re going to have to figure out a way just to clue in the rest of those here at UK to show them how good everyone else is and how silly we look right now.

It’s not a longshot, and it’s not impossible. In fact, I’m pledging to you that it’s going to happen. I am determined to help push us through and help to start a community that has lacked to exist since I have been at UK. The newspaper provides a unique group of students, but we’re not doing great stories. We’re not producing what is called contest winners, but more importantly is great journalism.

Stories like the one Sean Rose and Ed Matthews perfected about Bill Fuller, a 44-year-old who was diagnosed with AIDS 20 years ago and is daily fighting the disease, are the ones we are going to start cranking out next semester. If everyone could just find something they’re passionate about, and tell that story. Just one thing.

I talked about how I care about health care. I’m going to try, if it takes every second of my time, to shoot this story over the span of the 3 weeks I get for Christmas break. I have found a writer who I think, once she learns the whole story, will be as passionate about it as I am.

Upon returning, I also want to have a finished coal project. We’ve been talking about this story for so long, I can’t understand why it just doesn’t happen.

So let’s make it happen.

Instead of waiting around for assignments and stories to come to us, we need to be the ones generating ideas. Photographers, we are the visionaries. There are writers out there who are very visual and recognize a visually appealing story, but sometimes even they get caught up in covering the daily run-of-the-mill stories about forums, previews and new research.

Photographers who are spending time working on projects avoid the daily grind of shooting meaningless (and often worthless) photos. Someone has to do it, and those people will not go unrewarded. You have to start somewhere, and we can’t all start off as photo edtiors, deciding what we shoot. If you are coming into the Kernel and think you have a right to pick your assignments as a freshman, you are out of line. I shot a lot of crap my freshman year as I tried to work my way up. Then once I was photo editor realized, I still had to shoot the crappy assignments.

Over the break, it would be amazing to see each of us find something we care about, and just do it. Shoot the whole story. Who cares if it doesn’t relate to UK? What about doing good journalism? Since when did we decide to set boundaries to what is only on campus or directly related? Are we not journalist before we are students? I thought that’s the reason we’re in the Kernel more than the classroom, because there are things that are more important than learning these generic requirement courses.

UK photojournalism students, you should realize this: you do not have a major. In fact, we have little support from our college; so little that it has never been enough to generate a major. Your grades do not matter. Aspiring photojournalist who have a great grade point average from a school that doesn’t even have a major has NO EFFECT on employers.

But who cares? I wouldn’t major in pj if we had it. Since we do not have the support from our school, or a reputation to carry you anywhere (in fact, it may be hurting you as this year’s Atlanta), you should be getting the grades you can in between buildng a great portfolio.

Your grades will only please your parents, who while may be paying the bills, would probably much rather see you get a job when you graduate than to get out there and realize, you’re just another goober with a camera.

And that’s all we are until we do something about it. So I am invting you, yeah you, goober with a camera, to stand up and make something of yourself and let’s build the community that people are talking about. Let’s be the school that people want to go to just so they can be a part of what is happening. We have the support of three great advisers (Chris, Jim and Kelli) and we need to take advantage of their support and just do it.

Literally anyone can point a camera and push a button. We are to be more than that. We aren’t capturing random moments. Our job is to see the moment and capture it.

So please, find your passion. What motivates you? What burns you? What tics you off? What would you tell the whole world about if you had just one story left to tell? Figure that out, and you have found where to begin.

I look forward to seeing it in print.

Between the lines:
* – “After a complete flop from our photojournalism students at the largest national photojournalism convention.”
Last week we had 14 people signed up to go to Atlanta, and only one made it. I never signed up to go, and that is where the problem began. I wont let you guys down anymore. I promise.


6 Responses to “In a league of our own”

  1. Thattaboy! Do those stories! You guys have come a long way even since I was there (2000-2004). I look forward to see what you can do!

    (We won’t talk about grades — I’ve had major opportunities open up b/c of grades, so I don’t necessarily agree with you there. But I can understand that you’re frustrated b/c of the school’s issues.)

  2. lenscapremoved Says:

    Grades are nice if you can keep them and build the kind of portfolio you need to be hired by mid-size dailies. But most can’t.

  3. captureamoment Says:

    count me IN.

    screw scholarships.

  4. […] I plan to reshoot my portfolio. I hope my UKPJers are getting pumped and also trying to think of their story. Remember, think of what you would tell the whole world if you could. Figure that out, and let us […]

  5. rockin – make it happen guys

  6. […] Our upcoming workshop will be a chance for our photographers to produce some amazing work, but hopefully everyone will realize that if you can find these stories in tiny-little Evarts, you can find them anywhere. People bring good stories, not location. But we will need to be united and have a presence to really get back on the right foot after Atlanta. […]

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