Sunday, May 1, 2011

30 Day Essay: Understanding and Embracing Aging

Jane Pounds takes in a deep breath before getting ready for the day on April 16, 2011. At 81, Pounds says that by not jumping up out of bed right when she wakes up, it allows her to mentally and physically prepare for the day.

The door to Pounds’ medicine cabinet lies open as she goes through her morning routine on April 16, 2011. Though she does use a few anti-aging and wrinkle creams, Pounds says that she does not bother with trying to look younger than she is. “You do get a certain amount of respect from most people simply because you are older, and that’s nice,” adds Pounds.

Jean Hodgson stretches during a pilates class at the Meramec Bluffs gym on April 11, 2011. The facility’s trainers offer different aerobic classes to help the residents maintain flexibility and strength as their bodies age.

Jane Enchelmaier attempts a return during a water volleyball match on April 9, 2011. Many of the residents at the Lutheran Senior Services facility at Meramec Bluffs try to stay as active and healthy as they can at they age by doing different activities that the facility offers. “I think that’s very important. Otherwise you don’t have very much energy, your body doesn’t feel as good, and your body doesn’t feel as young,” says Pounds.

Jan Neubacher touches her friend Norine Lang’s hand after running into each other in the salon on April 9, 2011. The two had not seen each other for some time, and spent a few minutes catching up. “It’s still good to have friends to talk to,” says Pounds, “and friends who are in the same boat.”

Joan Moschner and Elaine McGraw share a laugh during their shuffleboard break on April 23, 2011. Resident Lucy McKay finds that having friends to laugh about life and growing old is more tolerable than being isolated where you have to face those struggles on your own.


For my first job when I turned 16, I applied to become a waitress at a retirement home right up the street from where I lived in Ballwin, Mo. It was a new facility owned by Lutheran Senior Services that catered to more able older adults, and while I had my own 3 grandparents, I didn’t quite know what to expect of this generation.

In the first week that I worked there, I met a man who whenever you ask him how he was doing, he always responded, “Well I’m almost terrific!” This of course triggered the follow-up question of how he could be fully terrific. His response was always the same- Heaven.

Not too soon after that I became familiar with another elderly gentlemen who had a similar response to the question. He would simply state, “Well, I woke up today.” Another would answer that it was a good day because he didn’t smell candles when he got out of bed, his way of joking about a funeral.

After a few weeks of working there, I slowly began to see a trend and, being only 16, I had to wonder, is death the only thing that you have to look forward to as you age?

“You just can’t imagine that one of things we truly laugh about is aging and death,” says 83-year-old Lucy McKay, a resident at the LSS Meramec Bluffs facility. “I don’t think any of us are afraid of death. We kid a lot about it, and I think that’s why we are more relaxed with the situation, because we know any day it could be anyone of us.”

And though they may not be afraid of death, many of the residents at Meramec Bluffs are by no means counting down until the end. On the contrary, they are finding ways to keep themselves feeling younger and more active without regards to their age.

“I don’t think we should look at age,” continues McKay, who believes that age is an important factor when you are younger, as you have events and stages in your life to look forward to. Once you’ve passed those milestones, McKay finds that age doesn’t affect your life as much. In fact, she believes that there are many misconceptions based on the assumption that just because someone may be a certain age, it makes them old.

“Age doesn’t count so much anymore because it is your physical well-being,” she says. “Based on your health, you can be old at 65 if you’re not feeling well and if your health is poor. And you can be vital at 80-85 if you’re feeling well and if you (have) physical well-belling.”

In her eighties, McKay is finding plenty of ways to maintain her physical well-being through different activities, including water aerobics and playing volleyball, as are many of the residents at the facility.

Jane Pounds, 81, found that once she turned 80 her body was beginning to tire more easily than it had before, but she didn’t let stop her from doing what she enjoys. Still an active member in two choirs, Pounds continues to bowl, and organizes and partakes in activities at the facility.

“And I think that’s the key to it, too, is to just keep doing what you like to do,” says Pounds. “Don’t think that because you’re a certain age you can’t do it anymore.”

McKay couldn’t agree more. An avid walking, McKay believes that just getting out and walking a bit, or any physical activity that you still love, are the answers to aging.

Though both women find physical activity to be a large factor in keeping their bodies feeling younger, they are not too concerned with doing the same with their physical appearance.

“At the grocery store, sometimes someone will say ‘can I help you,’ and I think, ‘oh my gosh, I must look awfully old if they’re offering to help me like that,’ and I don’t realize that,” laughs Pounds.

But she doesn’t let it bother her. Instead, she embraces her older age, as does McKay. When McKay was working with people younger than herself, she died her hair as a way to blend in with them. When she moved into the facility and was surrounded by her peers, however, she decided to let her hair go gray and take advantage of it.

“You do get a certain amount of respect from most people simply because you are older, and that’s nice,” adds Pounds.

There are other aspects, however, besides physical activity, which McKay and Pounds find to help their aging process, and one of the most important aspects is their relationships with others.

Pounds, who will be celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary this December with her husband, Wayne, feels that having love in her life is a large factor to her well-being, and that aging has only strengthened it.

“We keep that going, and it’s not hard. You have more time to relax with each other for one thing, and more opportunities, it seems to me, to express how you feel to the other person,” she says.

For those older adults who have lost their loved ones, however, companionship comes from their friendships with those around them. After McKay retired, she began working again part-time just to give her something to do and because she couldn’t stand not working. When she lost her husband some time after that, however, she tried to stay in her home and continue on with her daily life, only to find it to be rather depressing.

“To grow old alone in your home, that’s no way to live,” she explains.

Then after a few years, McKay realized that she needed to be around more people and get the socialization that she was missing. After moving into Meramec Bluffs nearly three years ago, she found it to be uplifting to be able to talk with those around her that understood the things that she was going through.

“I think it makes life a lot more tolerable than being isolated where all you do is think about things,” she says.

And while these women find that there are ways in which they can feel younger and overcome the struggles that growing older creates, they’ve embraced their age and their situations. They’ve also realized that, though there may be certain limitations, aging has not changed who they are.

“The concept that getting old diminishes one’s activities, along with their emotions, is a misconception. Yes, your activities are diminishes because of course your ligaments and muscles and bones stiffen up and they aren’t as flexible as when you’re younger, and that’s why you don’t run or try to jump over things,” explains McKay. “You slow down because the body tells you or makes you slow down. But inside your emotions don’t change. We still have those feelings; we bleed the same as younger people.”

Pounds agrees that, though she feels her age on occasion, she finds that aging has not affected the person who she was when she was younger.

“In my mind I don’t feel my age at all. I don’t really feel a whole lot different. Mentally I tell myself you’re older, but as you’re thinking about things, your innermost thoughts still seem a lot the same,” says Pounds. “They don’t seem to change. Your basic self doesn’t change, you still feel like yourself, no matter what your age is.”

Yet while these women, and many of the residents at Meramec Bluffs, keep their bodies as active and healthy as possible, they feel that aging has its benefits as well. In fact, McKay believes that there is no use in attempting to stay young forever.

“Youth is so idolized in our country, but if you stop and think about it, you’re not going to stop it. In fact, you’d like to grow old; it’s better than not growing old. So you might as well go along with it,” she says. “It can be a beautiful process.”

Work Report

When I found out a few weeks ago that May was “Senior Citizens Month,” I was so happy that by the time the whole project came together it would be very timely. Although we had talked about in class attempting to change my focus on “golden girls” halfway through, with it being Easter weekend and other events going on at the Bluffs, I just didn’t get enough material to focus on that, and when I redid the interview to talk about it, many of the women didn’t have much to say. Therefore, I went back to my original idea, but instead of just showing the active lives of the elderly, and from the interviews I had done that kind of guided me, I chose to focus on how the elderly struggle and embrace aging, and in what ways the assumptions of the elderly are incorrect.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the way that it turned out, although I feel like I could have used another month to take my general focus and branch it off to find a great story inside of it. This was my first attempt at doing an essay, and in all honesty I am not really a huge fan of them. It is much more difficult to organize an essay than a story, and it is very hard to get the pictures to play off each other. When I finally laid out my pictures, I had two things in mind as a way for them to play off each other. The first was that I wanted it to capture the three main points I talked about in the article: physical activity, physical appearance and the need for relationships. With this, each set of pictures sort of works together. The second part was that I wanted it to flow almost as if it was a daily progression, starting with waking up in the morning with stiff joints and alone, and ending with being around others and being happy. Otherwise, I know that there is not much that is holding the pictures together either style-wise or with the people in them. I also know that they may not be my best work, as many of them are from about the same distance, but I did vary my lenses quite often and worked from different angles. Out of the almost 900 images, however, the pictures I needed to show just didn’t show this.

Of the three audio interviews that I took, I decided to only use one for the final cut piece. Having only one person talking seemed like the best way to make sure it was concise and fluid. I know that the piece is rather long for just an audio piece, but I found it to be an alternative way to understand the entire piece without having to read the article. I did work to cut it down as much as I could, and I had others listen to it, but because of the way Mrs. McKay answered the questions, if I had left it around 2-3 minutes, it would have been three of her answers. Overall, however, I think the audio quality in this project was much better than my last project, as well are the answers that I got in the interview. Also, I didn’t want this to be a real multimedia project because I know I wouldn’t have the images to fill in the time, and otherwise the pictures would have been onscreen for almost 40 seconds. I also thought about doing the interviews with video, but all the cameras were checked out, so I had to rely on just an audio recorder.

While I’m pretty proud of the work I did, I think I am most proud of my work on the article. It took me several days to get it right since I hadn’t written an article in over four months, but it was so easy to work with the quotes that I had from the interviews. While it is rather long, I feel like it is still fluid as well, and that it covers all the most important aspects of what I originally wanted to show about the elderly community. Also, even though you can’t hear their voices, I think the way in which the women spoke and how they answered the questions really offers insight into the kind of people they are and gives them character. One thing I chose not to do with the article was do a layout because I have no idea how to do one or feel comfortable enough with InDesign to try it. I know we did that exercise at the beginning of the semester, but quite obviously from the layout I created I have no idea where to even start to put one together, and I didn’t want a poor design to take away from the article.

Overall, I feel like I tried my hardest to get this project to come together, and although it could be better, I am happy with what I’ve done and won’t feel ashamed to show the residents the final product.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

30 Day Story-WiP 2

So far for my project I’m very happy with the progress I have made in only shooting 8 days. This past weekend I spent time shooting some new events and situations, and also re-shot some situations as well. Unfortunately, due to scheduling in the facility, I will not be able to re-shoot some of the things that we talked about in class, such as water volleyball and the gym classes, since they are during the week. I did, however, get to spend a few hours in the morning with one of the female residents, and followed her through her morning routine and did an audio interview, which I think will add a lot to the project. I think the images I got from spending time with her also show the beauty aspect of aging and what it is like for them to look in a mirror every morning to a face that is continually aging. I also took some detail shots that I think are somewhat humorous, but also get the point across that these people are getting older every day, but that have a different outlook on their life than many other people in their generation. Along with this, I did a total of 3 interviews with different residents who all have different outlooks on their aging bodies, but they also seemed to narrow it down to the same point. Each interview was around 30 minutes, but what I found each of them to be saying is that age is just a number, and that as you get older it is just as important to stay as active and social as you did when you were younger. Each of the residents touched on staying physically active, as well as mentally and spiritually active, and also the importance of maintaining friendships and relationships with others as being part of how they stay young at heart. As much as I would like to, I don’t see this assignment being a full multimedia story, especially since I don’t think I could edit the audio down to less than ten minutes, but I want to incorporate the aspects of aging that they feel are important into my essay, and also capture what they said were the struggles and truths about aging. So for this, I want to include the pictures of them being physically active, such as bocce ball or water volleyball, and also show the ways in which they can still move though it may be harder for them, as in the pilates class I shot. I also want to include the images of the two women holding each other’s hands to illustrate the importance of maintaining social lives, especially for those that have lost their spouses. Along with the images, I’m planning on writing an article so that I will be able to include most of the what the residents had to say about the subject, and I may also shorten down the audio clips for each of the interviews I did just to give the images a real and authentic voice to share with the class.

*Sorry about the layout.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week Long Story: And Baby Makes 18


Work Report:
Overall, I'm a lot happier with this assignment than my last one, although there were still some areas where I think I could have improved. It was difficult getting an overall shot because of the environment, and also just because of the story topic. Outside of some images of Noah playing on the floor and Jordan and Brian sitting on the couch, there wasn't any other moment that might have conveyed an overall image, and the one described was just boring. I would have also really liked to get more interactions shots with Jordan and Brian together, but unfortunately due to access issues I wasn't able to, and on the two days that I shot this he was there for all of about an hour. Another obstacle that I had to overcome was finding honest moments in front of me. I was hoping that I would be able to go out with Jordan when she ran errands or visited family, but that fell through, so all of my images are of her doing her daily routine in the house, which became repetitive. That is the reason why I only chose to pull in a few images of Jordan actually doing things with Noah that showed a bit more emotion.
I really like the portraits that I took of Jordan, and I think both show the two sides of her being a mother and while sometimes it is exhausting, it is rewarding at the same time. I also really liked the shots of her with Brian and Noah because they show both how they are a family, and how they are still young and joke around a lot. I think in this assignment I was able to change my lens more often and work different angels, even though a lot of the images I shot that were a little different style-wise I didn't pull in because they didn't add much to the story. I was, however, more conscientious this time of how I was shooting, and that helped me vary my images.
My audio turned out much better than I had expected, and I think that it adds a lot to the story. The first time I interviewed Jordan, it was very hard to get her to restate the questions, and very little of the audio was usable. Plus she spoke very quietly and somewhat monotone, so when the second interview came around, I made sure that she restated the question every time and it was a much better interview. I was upset that the wireless mics weren't quite working right when I tried them out the night before, so I had to use the M-Audio mic only, and although it picked up more background noise than I liked, I don't think it was distracting in the final piece.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Reading Reactions #3

I found Anne Lamott’s chapter on “False Starts” very interesting, especially since we are getting to start our weeklong story assignments. When we submit our proposals, we may think we know exactly where we are going to focus our story, only to find out later that what we thought we knew we didn’t, or in fact that we don’t really know anything about our subjects at all. During reporting and staff, there were several assignments that I thought were going to be straightforward, but in the end I found that what I was documenting about these people is not truly who they are. I particularly liked Lamott’s point about how people follow blueprints of the story that they have in mind even when there is so much more to discover about the subject. As off-putting as it may be to have to restructure the entire story of the assignment, it is so much more rewarding when you find the greatness that was hiding beneath a person’s top layer. Especially as photojournalist, people in the field, and even in class, are constantly trying to find new ways to tell the same story that has been done dozens of times by taking their subjects and finding out why there are different then all the other stories out there. We have to dig deeper into our subjects and keep going back to them to find out what makes them unique and worth documenting. It is just as Lamott wrote, “And we also want to know who they are when stripped of the surface show, ” and also just like we talk about in class- we have to find out why people think, act and feel the way they do in order to create a great story.

The second chapter that we read, “Plot Treatments,” I found to relate most to the editing process. Sometimes we become so attached and in-depth with our subjects and stories that we can’t see the flaws or gaps. Even when we bring in other people to edit our stories to get an outsider’s opinion, we still fight for the way that we originally had the story. When Erin Hendry and I edited each other’s one-day stories, it was hard for us to see some of the images we loved be taken out of the story because they just didn’t work. They may be beautiful images, but at the same time they have to fit the original focus and bring that focus to light. Whenever I’ve had a longer story to work on, such as Boone Life, I try to take several breaks from it and come back to it some time later to see if my original story works and to make sure that there are no gaps in it as well. Much in the same way that Lamott describes in this chapter, it’s easy to become upset over others critiquing your work and not fully appreciating it like you do, but the truth is that they are the ones that the project is meant for- it is meant to share with others. And if our original idea cannot come through in the project, then we have failed and must start it over again.

The main part of this reading that I agree with is Lamott’s last section titled “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” I think she summed it up perfectly that most people don’t truly know when they have finished a project until there is nothing more that they can do about it. I’m experienced this feeling with most of my multimedia projects. I’m re-toned images, restructured the storyline, reedited audio, changed titles five to six times, and in the end it still feels like the project isn’t exactly the way I want it, and also that there is still some ways that it can be improved. At some point, however, I just give up and realize this is the most I can do to the project and that I can’t keep thinking about what it could be like, but instead just take it as it is. I think this is a very practical approach to issues like this, however, because it teaches people their strengths and weaknesses, and that they are human and not perfect.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Day Story: A Time When Everyone Has a Valentine

This story follows six-year-old Olivia Frenz during her first-grade class Valentine's Day party at Wren Hollow Elementary School in Ballwin, Missouri. The party consisted of the students handing out their valentines, decorating and eating cookies, and making arts and crafts during the last hour of school.
Six-year-old Olivia Frenz writes out her valentines the night before her first-grade class Valentine’s Day party. She chose valentines that had two of her favorite things on them- ponies and hearts.
Olivia and her brother Jake, 3, admire her classmate’s heart-shaped balloon that was dropped off at the beginning of the party. During the last hour of the school day, Wren Hollow Elementary students celebrated Valentine’s Day by decorating cookies, passing out their valentines, and doing an arts and crafts activity.
Olivia peeks into her decorated valentines box to see the different candy she’s received from her classmates so far. “My favorite part is that it has stickers on it,” she said of her box.
Olivia and her brother sort through her treats after all the students had finished handing out their valentines. Among the Skittles, lollipops and Sweet Tarts, Olivia said her favorite was the Ring Pop.
Olivia takes the first bite out of the sugar cookie that she decorated during the party. Decorated with icing, sprinkles, candy hearts and a Hershey Kiss on top, she said that tasted “yummy.”

Olivia’s mother, Mary, helps her string together an “I Love You” keychain during her class’ arts and crafts activity. The students were told to give the keychain to someone they love, so Olivia gave it to her mother.

Olivia smiles as she admires her candy-filled box on the walk to her car after school let out. Two weeks after Valentine’s Day, she still has some of the candy left over.

Work Report:
Even though I know this wasn't my best work, I was glad that I at least got some sort of story out of it in the end. Some areas where I could have used improvement would be in getting an overall, working a situation longer, and varying my lens and point of view. I was happy, however, that I got shots of her interacting with others, which is where I usually have problems, and also the shot where she is looking into the box. This also taught me that I need to think about every aspect of the shoot before I go into, even if it is a last minute assignment, and to make sure that if I see something I at least try to take a picture of it and not hesitate about it. I also need to take some time to double check my exposure and use flash anytime that there is not quite as much light as I need or when there is not enough light to make the image sharp. A few of my images could have been saved had I only used a flash. In the hour that I had to shoot the party aspect of the story, however, I was glad that I remembered what I needed for the story, even if getting an overall didn’t quite work like I would have hoped. I made sure to think about portraits, interaction, closer, opener and details, and overall I’m pretty happy with the ones that I used.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

POYi Reactions

The general news picture story category was very interesting in this year’s Picture of the Year International Competition. Since it was general news, the picture story topics were so broad that there was a huge variety of both local and international news. This, however, was a pro and a con for both the photographers that submitted their work, as well as for the judges. Most of the category was made up of international stories, such as the riots in Greece, the earthquake in Haiti, U.S. troops at war and the Gulf oil spill. For photographers that submitted work that they had shot in their hometown, it almost seemed inevitable that they wouldn’t win against the international news that created such an impact. While this category gave the judges some 420 stories to look through, it was easy to spot the weakest stories almost instantly.

Even through the first round of judging it was almost too easy to know how the judges were going to vote. Almost all of the stories voted out needed a much tighter edit and did not have enough material to make it a story, or even a central theme to make it an essay. Very few of the local news stories made it through, while most that depicted the international tragedies of 2010 did. There were some interesting ideas that came through in this category, but were just not shot well. One of the stories that stuck out the most during the first round was a story about a spelling bee. While this may not have been the most exciting of topics, there are certainly a variety of angles that the photographer could have taken. Not only can a photographer focus on the participants, but they could also look for stories from the crowd and family members in the audience, from the judges, and even from prepping and backstage events. Instead, this photographer took about seven or eight images from the same distance, and most likely with the same lens, of the children up on stage. There was absolutely no variety to the images, and when the images were presented as thumbnails next to each other, it looked like the photographer had just submitted the same image several times. There were also quite a few stories and essays that focused on the military, but the photographers were able to shoot it at a new angle. One photographer did a story of the military that was shot all at night, and even used night-vision to take some of his pictures. Another focused on the way light played through the windows and broken doors of buildings in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though they were beautiful images, there just wasn’t enough to make them unique in order to get through to the next level. The same can be said about an entry that was all panoramics of the flooding and destroyed buildings in Chile. It was supposed to be a story with different elements of the people and the destruction, but since there was a large issue of distance and all the composition appeared the same it just didn’t work too well. In my opinion, had it been more focused as an essay, it would have worked much better.

The second place winner in the end surprised me. The judges seemed to be looking for different aspects in the picture stories and they also seemed to not be able to agree that easily on the top winners. From what they were looking for, I was surprised that the piece on the toxic sludge in Hungary received second place. One of the judges seemed particularly concerned that they didn’t want to represent the same disaster in the top three spots, so one of the other earthquake pieces in Haiti received an award of excellence. While the Hungary piece had some beautiful images, I didn’t feel like it had quite an impact that some of the awards of excellence did. Overall, however, the final winners and awards of excellence were the best of the 420 stories, and the judges did a thorough job of narrowing it down to them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reading Reactions #2

Unlike the last readings we had to do, the first chapter in Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird “School Lunches” that we read for this week didn’t feel as if it had that much advice that could relate to photography as it did to writing. The main idea that I could get from it, however, was that sometimes you just have to do something instead of just thinking about it. As she pointed out, sometimes when her students don’t know what to write about she tells them to think back to their school lunches and describe what they can remember. Though this material most likely will never be used, sometimes all you need to do to get ideas and motivation flowing is to start from somewhere. The way I took this to relate to photography is that sometimes we are overwhelmed by what is happening in front of us that we don’t even know where to focus our attention. I used to have this issue when I did an internship a few summers ago at a small community newspaper where I would go to these community events and try to document the people and events to make them personal. Sometimes, however, there were just too many events unfolding at once that I didn’t know where to start. So instead, I would just start taking pictures of everything and then go back and see what was the most interesting. Although it may have wasted some of my time and most of the images wouldn’t be used, it helped me get an idea of where to start focusing my attention, which I think is the main point Lamott wants to make. Sometimes we need to just do and not think in order to get started.

The statement I liked best in the second chapter that we read from Lamott, “Polaroids,” was “You can’t- and, in fact, you’re not supposed to- know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing.” Sometimes my biggest issue with developing story ideas is that I begin to imagine what the picture will look like before I even fully know the situation. Then when I actually start shooting the assignment, I miss other moments because I’m constantly waiting for the one that I already had in my mind. While brainstorming the situation before you head into an assignment is not always a bad thing to do, it does limit your perception and what you really should be observing. I did this a lot last semester when I was working on my Boone Life column, and finally after a few trips to shoot I realized that I shouldn’t be so preoccupied with what could be and instead should be focused on the events as they unfold in front of me.

The second part I liked about this chapter is how she described how her perception of the Special Olympics changed while she was watching it. She may have gone into the event with the mentality that it was going to be as everyone portrays it year after year, but she discovered a new angle by looking at it differently. Sometimes photographers may go into a situation where they think it will just be the standard shoot, and then end up leaving with something totally unexpected. This just all depends on if we let our previous mentality affect the work we produce, or if we allow the events to develop our story ideas. In many ways it is just a matter of being compelled by your surroundings because you know that there may be a new way to look at something. Today gave a perfect example of this: when Lindsay was brainstorming ideas for the police dance, she was given a whole new angle when the suggestion of finding a female cop was offered. Sometimes stepping away from a project for a bit or some outside perspective works the best in creating stories, which is why preconceived notions are not always the best for developing a picture story.

I feel that the reading on “Selecting a Subject” by Bill Jay and David Hurn, however, was the most interesting section that we read for this assignment. The main point that I will take away from this reading is that you have to have a passion or interest in what you are photographing in order to make it an interesting picture for others to see. As a photojournalism student, I find it hard sometimes to come up with interesting story ideas because things that I have an interest in are not that visual, or are just too broad. I remember in fundamentals, as well, when we did the classmate assignment and the person who was supposed to find an interesting aspect of my life to document had a very hard time. I don’t have that many interests, and the ones I do mostly just focus around infants or the elderly. I like the idea of showing the process of creating a new life and developing that life, but also showing the journey of life that the elderly experienced. This is why during staff, and when I did my internship as well, some days I just found it very hard to go do my job. If I am not interested in the subject matter, I have a hard time caring about the pictures I create. I’m sure this is the case with a lot of other photographers, and I would be interested in learning how others overcome it. On the other hand, however, having a greater interest in something that you are documenting is extremely useful because you understand better, and are therefore able to share this understanding with the viewers.

I thought Jay and Hurn made an interesting point about how emotion can play into the images that photographers create as well. While it is not always a bad thing, emotion can make the photographer skew the view of something because it is something they love, but can’t bear to show in bad light. Though it is better if we have an interest in the subject matter of a photo story, sometimes being too invested can hurt being objective, and perhaps the overall project. This is exactly why while on staff they didn’t want us to go out on an assignment that we had any sort of affiliation with, or use contacts that were friends or family members. That is also why I think the best way to create a photo story or essay is to pick a topic of interest, and one that you may be a little attached to, but not be so involved that you know you won’t be able to document it fairly.