For it to have been the end of my photojournalism class, this is actual my first photo story. Here I got lucky after once attending a digital media workshop at Central Michigan University I flexed my skills in editing audio and video. However, I still had to rely on my newly minted photojournalism skills.
For my final photo story, I chose to cover an event hosted by the Black Student Union and other African American Wayne State University organizations. I chose this event because of what I knew about Kwanzaa as holiday and its relation to my own life. I know Kwanzaa is a colorful celebration of life here in the America’s for Africans Americans who have only know a life in the states, they can connect to the values of their descendants.
For the project I went in blind, with little to find on the Internet of past celebrations here on campus I decide to take a risk and just show up. Once there I found almost exactly what I had expected people and food and discussion. A professor Kenfenste Chike spoke in depth about his relationship to Kwanzaa and lectured on the values and how we can use them in today’s society. He touched on the lack of interest in Africana Studies he sees today from students, and the lack of interest in the holiday itself. He hopes the values with thrive again one day.
For the crowd, they all had lots to say even in a lecture space everyone welcomed interjections and inquires across the crowd. As a photographer I still got lots of stares as my camera clicked, I soon tried hard to shoot while there was noise over my camera. That brings me to another point of what I didn’t see. There was absolutely no music, which caught me by surprise and became very interesting as I began to focus on what to record. I thought about the mumble if the crowd but eventually settled on recording my interviews and lectures with an event organizer and mistress of ceremonies Maxine Hudgins.
She spent hours setting up the event including providing traditional African American fare. The crowd eventually gathered in fellowship at the end of the lecture to eat and talk among themselves. The crowd ranged from young to old, student to professor.
This assignment was truly a culmination of skills, I exercised them all to the best of my ability. After this assignment I’ve realized just how artful photojournalism is and the work people put in to doing it. For me the hardest part was still the photos, the technique. I now know that as a photojournalist you also have to create your style, your ‘way of doing,’ to create this common tread in your images and that thread is you. What you’re looking at through your lenses, what composition you’re using, how you’re using light, what moments you capture. You’re given the tools and the skills but once you’re out shooting it all comes down to you.