Steve Kissinger feeds two of his 13 horses a treat on his farm in Shepard, MI on Friday, September 13, 2013.
f/6.3@1/400 ISO 200
Working with Neil Blake of the Midland Daily news was an extremely educational and rewarding experience. On Friday, September 6, 2013, I worked with Neil shooting the 1460th transportation company at the National Guard Armory in Midland, MI. The company was loading up to go to Grayling for a month of training before they deploy.
Neil graduated as a photojournalist from Central Michigan University in the fall of 2009. During his final semester at CMU, he worked freelance at the Midland Daily News. After he graduated, he worked as an intern at the Harold in Jasper, IN and then at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire. He ended up coming back to the Midland Daily News and has been working there for two and a half years.
Our day started at seven in the morning at the National Guard Armory. Once the company started roll call, we started making pictures. It was difficult with the lighting inside the building, so once we moved outside it was easier. Outside, we shot pictures of soldiers standing around talking before getting their assignments. After a while, things started to pick up and we got lots of photos of the transportation vehicles being inspected and loaded up. We learned through talking with people that they weren’t going to actually be leaving until around 11am. At this point it was a little after 8am so Neil decided to have us head back to the paper so he could finish his layout before deadline. I was able to learn that the Midland Daily sometimes has the photographers do the layout for the paper. Neil said that this is sometimes to his advantage because then he can make sure the pictures are displayed in the most meaningful way on the page. After Neil finished the page layout, he gave me a brief tour of the paper, including the printing room. Midland Daily actually prints in-house and it was neat to see the machine printing thousands of newspapers. Then, we headed back to the armory to get shots of the soldiers loading up.
During our time at the armory, Neil gave me some tips about shooting a subject like this. He said basically to act like you know what you’re doing even when you’re not sure that you’re allowed to be in a certain spot. This was especially relevant to the National Guard because at one point we walked into a fenced-in area but no one stopped us.
Neil looked at my photos afterwards and gave me some constructive feedback. He said to always make sure you’ve got the basics down (focus, exposure, white balance). He also mentioned that he always tries to get people’s heads to be in front of a blank background (not intersecting other heads or objects). He like the variety in my photos and how I kept heads in front of a clean background.
This experience changed me a lot in the way I approach a photo subject. Ever since I first started as a photojournalist at CMU, I was always hesitant in the way I approach a subject. I never knew the “correct” way to go on assignment or that the subject saw me as a serious photographer, not just a student. Working with Neil made me realize that going into photograph people makes a lot of people nervous, even photographers working for newspapers (not just students). I also learned that good planning before you approach a subject is key. Neil had a shot in mind that he really wanted before he even got to the armory. This idea of how to go into a photo assignment (physically and mentally) would be really hard to teach in a classroom. Kent is always saying how you just have to go and just do it even though you are nervous or feel awkward, but until I worked with a photographer in the field, I never fully understood that the key to approaching subjects is confidence– (or at least faking it). This experience inspired me to begin to ignore the voice inside my head that is doubting and negative, something I think all photojournalists struggle with and could benefit from doing.
Overall, my goal for this project is to create a series of photos of various couples that all show some sense of love and care towards one another. I want to really spend time getting to know each couple and be able to photograph moments and aspects of their relationship. I want to focus on couples that are gay and lesbian, but I am also open to included mixed race couples and couples with a large age gap between them if it strengthens my goal of showing diversity in love. The issue of gay marriage is subject matter that is current in today’s society and is frequently talked and debated about. I wish to educate the audience on the fact that love can, and does, exist between anyone and everyone even if it looks different than the past stereotypical man and woman relationship.
The final product will be a professional photo book made using the website Blurb. The book will include at least 20 images of the couples with supplemental text to go along with each image or group of images. The text will be based on an interview I have with each couple as I get to know them better. At the SCREE presentation event I will have my finished photo book to display along with some large matted prints.
Cory, junior, and Chelsea, sophomore, DeLamielleure are sisters that share a passion for softball. The sisters grew up playing travel softball together when they were eight years old. Other sports they played when they were younger include soccer, volleyball, and basketball which was coached by their mom.
Now, both girls play on Central Michigan University’s softball team. Coach Margo Jonker first looked to recruit Cory and then found out that both sisters wanted to play at the same school. Cory said when she came to visit CMU, she fell in love with the team, the coach, and the campus itself. Both sisters were really excited when they found out they were both being recruited to play on the same college team, a dream that they both share.
Cory plays catcher and sometimes first base while Chelsea is a utility player that sometimes plays second and third.
Chelsea says that one of her favorite parts about playing on a team with her sister is that they share a sort of non verbal communication. She says it is exciting and can be a “game-changer” when she makes that connection with Cory.
“Pretty much between every play, we will just look at each other and we will know what we want to do,” Chelsea said.
“Growing up with our dad being our coach he has always pointed out similar things for us to look for,” Cory said.
When asked to describe each other’s playing style, both sisters agree that Cory plays with a more serious tone while Chelsea like to have fun and smile on the field. The sisters balance each other out between having fun and keeping focused.
When the DeLamielleure sisters are not on the softball field, they can be found hanging out together, studying, making dinner, and playing Catch Phrase-a favorite downtime activity.
Family is an important value shared by the sisters so when they aren’t at CMU, they go home to spend time with their parents and siblings.
“Playing with Cory is like having a home away from home”, Chelsea said. “Being able to play division 1 softball together is one of the most exciting things and we will have a lot of memories from it.”
-Assistant photographer to Amie Witkowski of Meister-Witkowski Photography in Stevensville, MI
Bar Mitzvah Reception
Below are photos from an art project using cut out quotes from magazines
Below is a photo series manipulated in Photoshop to convey a character trying to chase summer as it turns into autumn