As a senior in high school I needed to take an art elective as a requirement, so I decided to take a Basic Photography class for a semester of senior year. This one class quickly turned my feigning interest in photography into a passion. I learned the ins and outs of the fine art technique, using black and white film, chemistry trays and a darkroom. In college I chose photography as my minor area of study and stepped into the digital world.
I learned how to use camera settings to get the “perfect shot” that I was aiming for, details such as aperture, white balance, shutter speed, and so on. It has been my belief since beginning my journalism studies that a news story without a photograph is never successful as a story with a photograph. Photography and video will attract readers more than a story of print alone.
After taking the photojournalism class at Hofstra, it dawned on me that news was not just about writing a good article. I quickly learned that a journalist needs to be familiar with all kinds of media including photo, video, and sound. Last month I went on an interview for an article at Da Vinci Tattoo Parlor in Wantagh, NY, where my co-writer and I interviewed the head tattoo artist, shot photographs of the establishment and shot video of him tattooing a clients leg. With the material we gathered we could place our article in a print publication with photos, and also post our video online, spanning more than just one medium and therefore reaching more people.
My final project in my photojournalism class was a photo story of the Chuang-Yen Buddhist Monastery in Kent, NY. I shot over a period of two days and captioned my photos. It was an experience that fueled my desire to be a photojournalist and also sparked my interest in documentary photography.