Student photojournalists document ‘city that never sleeps’

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Photo Shoot highlights NYC Convention

When the photojournalists gathered in a dank room in New York City, they really didn’t know what to expect. Every year, the Photo Shoot-out is a little different. A different theme. Different contestants. And the city is just never the same. Every day is a bit different from the day before.

This year, the theme  — “The city that never sleeps” — gave students the option to find something new that told a piece of the story.

Jim McNay, former director of the visual journalism program at Brooks Institute of Photography, said, “These students showed considerable variety in what they were able to photograph around New York City. They really ‘worked the subject’ and captured a wide range of life.”

But it wasn’t easy.

McNay continued.

“I’m not sure what even experienced photographers would look for if they were in the streets with a camera. My hunch is the best picture would be a discovered one, not one they had pre-planned. This topic – The City That Never Sleeps – is one I found particularly challenging. In the ‘perfect’ picture, we’d get a feel for this city (New York) AND ‘never sleeps.’ My sense was the students frequently got one or the other of these two elements in their pictures. Getting both would require taking a picture to another level.”

Kristen Harrison of Ithaca College said, “The assignment of ‘The city that never sleeps’ was somewhat vague and a little daunting, but that left a lot of freedom to photograph whatever caught my eye. There was one day I specifically went to a location I thought would be interesting, but for the rest of the time I wandered around the city and photographed what I thought would make a good story.”

Still, the winning images conveyed superior technical quality and strong composition. Then, the best of the best, told a story.

    • FIRST PLACE and CLASS FAVORITE (tie) — Prajal Prasai, University of Louisiana (Monroe); Christopher Mapp, adviser
    • SECOND PLACE and CLASS FAVORITE (tie) — Kristen Harrison, Ithaca College; Michael Serino, adviser
    • THIRD PLACE — Shane Potter, Milwaukee Area Technical College;  Equan Burrows, adviser
    • HONORABLE MENTION — Mike Krzyston, University of the Cumberlands; Jeremiah Massengale, adviser
    • HONORABLE MENTION — Austin Schofield, University of Massachusetts (Boston); Chuck Henriques, adviser

Prasai said, “The contest let me have a glimpse of people of New York City as we all know the place is what people make. Overall, it was a great experience.” READ MORE FROM PRASAI.

And Harrison, photo editor at The Ithacan, said, “I was excited to participate because I love documentary photography and know New York City somewhat well. Both of the photos that I submitted were the last photos that I took during those sets, which taught me that not all good photos come right off the bat — you need to let your subjects become comfortable with you and gain their trust a bit first before gaining access proximity-wise or encountering some personal moments and experiences.”

McNay also said everyone can learn from the coverage by this year’s students.

“One thing students might tuck away for the next time they get an assignment something like this: Consider that life in NYC often reveals the weird, the slightly creepy, the upsetting. Looking for something like that might open visual possibilities for photographers.

“How do you know you’ve captured one of these? Key phrases come to mind either before or after taking a picture of something like this.

    • “That’s just too weird.”
    • “No one should see that.”
    • “That should not happen/appear in public.”
    • “We shouldn’t have to see that.”

Harrison said, “Overall, I thought it was a really great experience that tested my photographic and journalistic skills.”

Students could submit one or two images in JPEG format with caption and credit information in the Description field and uploaded to an album on Flickr. View past year’s entries here on Flickr.

View the slideshow to see the images the 18 students submitted.


ON-SITE COORDINATORS: Jack Zibluk (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) and Kevin Kleine (Berry College)

CONTEST COORDINATOR: Bradley Wilson, Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, Texas)

JUDGES: Bretton Zinger, Deanne Brown, Derek Schroeder, Edmnd Lo, Eric Thomas, Greg Cooper, Griff Singer, James E McNay, Jeanie Adams-Smith, Jed Palmer, Jeff Grimm, Justin Turner, Kaelin Mendez, Kelly Furnas, Kelly Glasscock, Kyle Carter, Laura Ivie, Laurie Hansen, Mark Dolejs, Mark Webber, Matt Crow, Matt Stamey, Michael Reeves, Mitchell Franz, Nicole Gravlin, Paul Glader, Pierce Srail, Randy Stano, Sam Oldenburg, Sherri Taylor, Steven Dearinger, Terri Real, Todd Maisel, Tom Hallaq, Tom Winski and Umbreen Qadeer