15 August 2010

High School Newspaper

I was on my high school newspaper staff for three years. It was a great extra-curricular activity for me. Because of my time on newspaper staff, there are a few things that I have natural preferences for.

One is single spaces after periods. Double spaces are a waste of perfectly good space, and they are not used in newspaper writing, so I don't use them still. Plus, they are pretty out of date now anyway, which I find rather convenient.

The other is candid photos. We were each assigned one or two events every six weeks that we were supposed to photograph. We were not allowed to photograph other members of the newspaper or yearbook staff. (This was because we shared photos between the two publications, and it is in bad taste to post pictures of your own staff throughout your publication.) Sometimes this couldn't be avoided, and that was understandable. We were also not allowed to take obviously posed photos. We were taught to believe we were actually participating in journalism, so the pictures needed to be candid. Because of this, I almost hate posed photos.

I know that may come as a surprise since most of my photos are posed, but that is because Eric is the primary photographer, and he always makes me stop and smile for the camera. Plus, with only two of us, I start to feel kind of goofy just standing around taking photos of Eric playing the tourist. One day when I am ridiculously wealthy, I will pay a photographer to follow our family around on vacations and take candid pictures of us.

The thing is, in journalism, you want a picture that tells a story. Your caption should be able to illustrate what was going on in the photo, and having a newspaper or yearbook filled with, "Eric and Sherry smile for the camera," would be quite possibly the most boring publication known to man.

For example:

A caption for this photo could be: Eric, Gordon and Andrew stand and smile for the camera after their 540-mile canoe trip.

Sure the photo shows that they were tired and furry-faced, and there are two canoe on the van behind them. But compare that rather lame caption to the one accompanying the following:
Sherry was ridiculously bad at rowing the boat in Seattle.

I mean, really. My face in this picture is just priceless, and I find it one of the most amusing pictures in our collection.

The other reason that I prefer candid photos is that they don't interrupt the event. Eric has an inherited tendency to make me stop in front of every possible photographic thing in our travels so that he can take a picture of me smiling in front of the photographic thing. I find that it interrupts my actual enjoyment of the photographic thing, and I would rather he just take a few candid shots of me. Granted, I don't hate all posed photography. I think a lot of it has its merits, particularly with things like weddings and family photos. But I really like there to be a mixture of both the standing-in-front-of-and-smiling photos as well as the candid shots.

If it weren't for my years on newspaper staff, I probably wouldn't notice double spacing after periods, and I probably wouldn't be nearly as bothered as I am by non-candid photos. Alas, I will never get those three years back, and I doubt my preferences will ever change.


trishtator said...

Picture of Sherry on boat = awesome = carefully saved on my desktop for various times of need.


Jessica Leigh said...

I did newspaper for two years, and I definitely am on your side on both matters on hand.

Also, I love that you randomly post such things as this. I would never think to post about such trains of thought! You are fabulous!

And I agree with my fellow commenter... awesome photo! :)