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Photo Round-up from Queen’s University Initiative Campaign [Sept 27, 2012]

Photos © Chi Yan Lam for Queen’s University.

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Photo round-up of Faculty Orientation Day One at Queen’s University

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In photography, timing is everything.

In photography, timing is everything. And one of the best way to capture that “star moment” is to predict and anticipate what is to come. In photojournalism, where few things are staged and moments are captured as they unfold, this can be especially challenging.

In my early days as a photographer, I tended to maintain an unobtrusive, stealthy stance when I photograph. (In research terms, I maintained distance from whom I study for fear of “contaminating” the reality.)  To the novice that I was, this was much easier on the soul. For reasons I won’t get into here, a subset of the population fear the camera lens, get grossly uncomfortable when they realize the presence of a photographer (even when they weren’t the subject), and respond with dirty eyes. This can be unnerving when one is only starting out.

This stance, of course, made it more difficult to capture those star moments. Sometimes, you just need to interfere in order to get the shots that you need.

As I become more comfortable with myself, I have become more assertive and directive in order to produce quality photos. I’m slowly coming to terms with entering a scene and making my presence known.

However, this changes the role of the photographer from a silent observer to a participant observer. The constructed reality represented in the photo is not going to be the same as the one without photographer intervention. Quick illustration: ever decided to photograph a famous speaker, musician, or the host at a wedding, and as soon as they notice you’re photographing them, they suddenly give you more “star moments” by smiling bigger, speak slower, or gesture grander?

So when might this photographer intervention be acceptable if photojournalism requires the photographer to accurately report on reality?

Perhaps it is not a question of to-do-it or not. What matters most, for me, is how a photographer does so ethically. The rule for me, then, is that the photographer may not request subjects to do something that wouldn’t otherwise be doing. A photographer should not suggest, incite, or otherwise provoke or promote subjects in order to the shot he needs.

But as you will see, some shots just aren’t mean to be.

I had wanted to grab a shot of these students doing a cheer. I set them up and was all ready to go. I held off their execution several times due to oncoming traffic. Finally, the road looked clear, and I gave the go-ahead. But as you will see, suddenly a truck pulled up, and gone was the star moment.

In photography, timing is everything.

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Graduate Student Development

Came across this post on Twitter. Like other PhD graduates described in this article, I, too, am trying to publish my thesis work. Trying to compress and reduce the complexity of an entire thesis and repackage it into a sufficiently rich stand-alone article is challenging. Pat’s solution is to let go of the thesis, and start fresh in search of “simplexity”. Definitely worth a read.

patter

I often meet post PhD people who are stuck. Even though they are now doctored, they are not over the Big Book.

Some of them are stuck in thinking how they might get something, anything, out of the thesis. A few of these people have just finished and are not sure where and how to start. Others are a way away from the post-viva celebration. They might have already had one or two shots at writing an article. Maybe they’ve even sent something to a journal and it’s come back with a lot of comments and exhortations to rewrite. And the requirements seem like such a lot, and so they put the paper away hoping that at some time in the future they’ll have the energy to revisit it.

Now one big reason for feeling stuck on getting articles out of the thesis is because people are still actually stuck

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Queen’s Gaels vs. York – Sept 3/12