Ever seen this photo?
The man who captured this tragic moment, this stunning blow and this iconic photo is an MU photojournalism alumnus.
His name is Bill Eppridge. He’s shot for LIFE, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated, and he was in town for the past three days. He gave a presentation to about 150 journalism students and faculty, received a Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism and talked to my staff photo class. He also reviewed my portfolio on Wednesday afternoon.
I’ll be honest here:
- I haven’t seriously looked into summer internships/jobs (yet). Being in class 16 hours a week and working at The Missourian and the equipment locker for at least another 20 hours a week have stretched me thin on any other pursuits.
- I haven’t given a good, long, hard look at my work over the past year. Plus, between photo editing at The Maneater in sophomore year, reporting in Jefferson City in junior year, working at Philmont for three summers and interning at washingtonpost.com this past summer, I haven’t had much time or many opportunities to be an actively shooting photojournalist until this semester.
But as soon as I heard that Bill Eppridge and his wife Adrienne — who is a photo editor — were volunteering to review students’ portfolios, I knew I couldn’t pass this opportunity up. So, in 10 minutes, I threw together a quick portfolio of single images (fortunately, I’ve been posting all of my best work from the past two years on my Flickr). And then I swallowed my nervousness as Bill and Adrienne looked over my work.
What I learned:
- Keep experimenting with different crops even after you’re satisfied with your crop.
- Dark, out-of-focus objects in the foreground + light, in-focus objects in the middle/background = not ideal. Watch for those out-of-focus objects that are closer to the foreground.
- A good single image will make the viewer want to know more about the story, not necessarily want to view more photos to supplement the first/original image.
- Don’t be afraid to crop out the horse’s legs.
- A good landscape photo has movement even when there is no physical movement.
- You can and should always keep learning. I was a student newspaper photo editor for a full academic year and spent all of last summer editing photos at washingtonpost.com, but I still learned a lot from Bill and Adrienne. And, more importantly, I know I still have a lot more to learn.
On a slightly separate note — talking and learning from Bill and Adrienne gave me enough fuel to start rolling with the internship applications. While I still need to update my resume, fully update my portfolio, finalize my brand and style and crank out all the cover letters and other material, I now have the fire in the belly. Last night alone, I found nearly a dozen internships I’m interested in.
So now I know how I’m spending the next several months — and paychecks!
ADDENDUM (8:45 a.m., Oct. 23, 2009) —
My future sister-in-law alerted me to the fact that not everyone will recognize the photo I posted at the beginning of this entry. For those who may not know, the photo is of Bobby Kennedy right after he was assassinated in a hotel kitchen following his victory in California’s Democratic presidential primary in 1968.