Photo of the Day: February 18th, 2014

 
The 2014 World Press Photographer of the Year Awards were announced recently. These awards highlight the best photojournalism in the world from the year. The first place winner in the “Contemporary Issues” category was a woman named Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, an American photojournalist pursuing a master’s degree in visual communication from Ohio University in Athens with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (two of the top photojournalism schools in the country). Lewkowicz drew attention to domestic violence with her story titled “Shane and Maggie: A Portrait of Domestic Violence” which documents a relationship that turns abusive. Her story was also the student winner of the 2013 Alexia Foundation Award. Lewkowicz explains the reason for documenting this story here: “Domestic violence is a largely invisible crime. We usually only hear it muffled through walls, and we usually only see it manifested in the faded yellow and purple bruises of a woman who “walked into a wall” or “fell down the stairs.” It is rarely limited to one event, and it rarely stops. My project, “Shane and Maggie,” seeks to portray domestic abuse as a process, as opposed to a single incident, examining how a pattern of abuse develops and eventually crests, as well as its short- and long-term effects on victims, their families, and their abusers.”
Lewkowicz’ first person account and documentation of the actual physical abuse drew some controversy from viewers as to what a photojournalist’s responsibility is in situations like these. The photojournalist’s responsibility has been a huge moral and ethical issue that has always been up for debate and always will be. An article published in Salon Magazine about the photo story focused on how commenters attacked everyone except the abuser. Lewkowicz has been blamed for things ranging from voyeurism to child abuse since publishing this story. I enjoy the way that Salon contributer Jina Moore cynically puts this, “Why confront our discomfort about images when we can instead confront the photographer? Why challenge the perpetrators who commit, and the structures that underpin, this violence when we can blame its victims – and, when the evidence of violence is still too powerful, its witnesses?”

http://www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2014/contemporary-issues/sara-lewkowicz?gallery=1125526

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Harris Hill

This weekend I was tasked with photographing the ski jumping competition at Brattleboro’s historic Harris Hill. Growing up in Brattleboro, I had always heard about Harris Hill and have visited the jump a few times, but had for one reason or another never actually attended the annual ski jumping competition. I appreciate good sports photography quite a bit (it’s much more difficult than one might think), and it’s something that I’m always trying to improve on, so getting the chance to shoot such a huge event was pretty exciting for me. The weather was great over the weekend. I got to shoot the skiers jumping in snowfall on Saturday and then under a crisp, clear blue sky on Sunday. I experimented quite a bit with varying shutter speed and panning throughout the weekend, but my favorite shots happen to mostly be crisp, frozen in time, quick shutter speed images. I also attempted to get some “feature-y” photos along with the sports action shots (e.g. my photo of the judges box, the shot of the reflection in the skier’s goggles, the shot of the skier climbing the stairs, etc.). I’ve included some of my favorite shots from the weekend below.

Check out the full album of photos and video from the Harris Hill ski jumping competition here.

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Photos of the Day- February 7, 2014

Photographs from the New York Times and the Boston Globe aren’t the only photos I look at, I promise! Today, I was looking at photos from a newspaper in Jasper, Indiana called the Dubois County Herald. The Herald’s circulation is about 11,000 which is just about the same as the Reformer’s. The Herald has become well known for being a “picture paper”, meaning it prioritizes photography, and it has won many awards because of this. The paper has produced some of the country’s best documentary photography and best presentations of that photography since the 1970s. When I’m feeling uninspired or feel as though I don’t have anything worthwhile to photograph, looking at the Herald’s website is one of the best things to inspire me and to give me motivation to get out there. It reminds me that it’s possible to document great, important stories even in a town like little ol’ Brattleboro. Above are some recently published photos from the herald from their website. Click on each photo for a link to its gallery.ad182070eaa549b9f5fcf6ab72a10dd2The Jasper High School bowling team practiced Thursday at Eastown Recreation Center in Jasper in preparation for Saturday’s semistate at Western Bowl in Indianapolis. The squad won the regional last weekend. “The first strike you get of the day is the best thing,” freshman Hunter Richardson said. Carolyn Van Houten/The Herald

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(bottom left) Kari Rust, 14, left, hugged Jessie Hartley while Dorothy Nigg waited during the Creative Cooking class held at the Northwood Retirement Community in Jasper on Wednesday. Carolyn Van Houten/The Herald

(center) Wade Pierce of Jasper, 36, is the Dubois County Sheriff’s DepartmentÕs most senior night deputy. Working a shift from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Pierce patrols the county, issuing traffic tickets and warnings, investigating possible crimes, handling accidents and more. About four hours into his shift on the night of Jan. 10, Pierce pulled over a car in Ireland after the car completed a U-turn at a county road intersection. During the traffic stop, Pierce stayed out of the rain while waiting to hear back from a dispatcher with information about the vehicleÕs driver and passenger. Carolyn Van Houten/The Herald

(right) Aaron Mead, 11, aimed to throw a snowball at his brother, Nathan Mead, 15, outside of their Jasper home Tuesday as winter storm Nika hit Dubois County. Carolyn Van Houten/The Herald

Moments at an A Cappella Concert

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When it comes to concerts and performance type events, it’s often easy to get decent photos because of the stage lighting and framing of the performers. To make the photos GREAT however, one must wait for the great moments. One of my favorite, though more subtle moments that I captured during the 11th Annual A Cappella Concert at the Latchis last weekend was when Stephen Stearns was performing his tribute to Pete Seeger. Stearns was telling the audience stories about his friendship with Seeger, and took a moment to address Seeger up in heaven. When he did this, he looked up to the sky, and I was able to capture the moment. Without knowing the story, the photograph (below) wouldn’t be particularly special, but after reading about the meaning behind it, or simply knowing that Stearns was performing a tribute to his recently deceased friend when the photo was taken, it becomes a much better moment.

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Photos of the Day: January 29, 2014

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Sometimes the most striking photojournalism is the most simple. Shannon Jensen has spent time documenting South Sudanese refugees. She has made many dramatic images, but in my opinion, this collection is the most powerful despite its simplicity. The dirty, incredibly worn, broken down shoes make you wonder what happened to the person who wore them. What did that person go through to wear down shoes in that way? Each pair of shoes is captioned with the owner’s name, age, gender and the number of days they had to walk to reach the border. The images are more telling of the pain and hardship  that these people have been forced to endure than most other portraits or images could be.

Click on the image above to see the NY Times Lens article and the rest of the images.

“White Out”

BUHS basketball fans dressed in white for the game on Tuesday evening to show school spirit. When photographing the game, I made sure to keep this in mind with the way I framed my shots. Here are a few of the images that I made incorporating the “white out” fans.  Since the light was low and I was using a wide aperture (around 2.5-2.8), I played around with focusing on the fans and incorporating an out of focus foreground subject. When putting the fans in focus with an out of focus athlete in the foreground, it is still obvious that the image is of a basketball game, but it draws your attention straight to the in focus fans, which was my goal.

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Photo of the Day: January 24, 2014

Jan 23-#2

Tom Daley, an Olympic diver from Britain, training at the London Aquatics Center. Clive Rose/Getty Images

The NY Times Lens Blog included this image in the January 22nd “Pictures of the Day” gallery. With the Sochi Winter Olympics coming up in a couple of weeks, I’m seeing more and more photos (including these…interesting…portraits of the Canadian Olympic Team) of Olympic preparations and portraits of olympians. After seeing this image on the Lens Blog, I was interested to see the rest of the images Clive Rose made of Olympic training. It turns out that Rose got this photo and many others at the British diving press conference. While looking through his images from this event, you’ll see that most are portraits of Tom Daley and his trainer or fairly boring photos of Daley diving. This photo stands out for sure.

It is the only one out of the bunch where Rose made use of the tower outside to give a sense of environment and size and made use of the large windows and outside light to create a silhouette of Tom Daley diving and the diving board inside. The use of a silhouette in this photo makes it a much more powerful image than the rest. The lines of the windows and the natural framing that the diving board creates make this image pleasing to the eye and very geometric. Rose also captured Daley at the moment where his body is parallel to a bend in the structure, so his body is framed and does not intersect with any other silhouetted object.