While I learned a lot about myself through these speeches, I learned more about what these students believe to be right.
Last year I was totally unprepared. I assumed these students already knew a lot about shooting and the profession. Boy, was I wrong. These students are just picking up cameras for the first time and being guided in the wrong direction by their advisers. I ended up just sharing my portfolio to make time go by quickly.
This year I was prepared.
I started by holding up two cameras: a digital SLR and a small point-and- shoot. I asked them which camera took better pictures.
Not surprisingly they all believed the large, bulky camera took better pictures. They were all wrong.
Sure, the big professional camera produces cleaner, crisper images and has tons of different settings that can be manually changed, but I tried to teach them that it all starts in their head. Photography begins with how we see things, seeing light, shapes, colors and telling a story visually. It's a craft. However, being younger and smarter than me, it was a pretty hard concept for them to grasp. Nonetheless I think half of the class understood by the end.
My second main area of concern was ethics. If these students learned one thing from me, I wanted them to have a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong in the world of photojournalism.
I first started by showing them four images. One image being different and of former Toledo Blade staff photographer, Allan Detrich (bottom image on link).
Not knowing what to even look for, everyone screamed out of the obvious difference of a persons legs missing behind the fence in one photo. I then asked them how many people clean up their photos by doing the same thing -- clone out parts of photos.
Every single student raised there hand. They all believed it was the right thing to do. When I told them that they would all be fired, that's when I got their full attention.
Whether these students are going on to be journalists, photojournalists, or not, they all understood at that point that changing facts, not telling a story truthfully and manipulating images was wrong. I went on to teach them the rest of the code of ethics, and I am glad I did.
Aside from teaching them: what a news photo is, what sports image is, what feature photo is, tips on shooting, getting close to subjects and all the beginner's tips, it really felt good that I taught them the most valuable aspect of shooting: the ethics.
Aside from that, today has been very, very slow. I gave my soccer remote another shot. I tired a different point of view, actually put it through the net, yet I've come to realize 12mm is too wide.