Tag Archives: photography

America Shows Its Thanks For Instagram

 

-Marissa Tomko

According to National Geographic the world’s first photograph was taken in 1826 by a French scientist named Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. The exposure time of the bitumen-coated plate took hours, and the photo had to be properly lit in order to be viewed. This process marked the beginning of the history of photography

Fast forward almost two hundred years, and you’ll find another milestone moment in the world of photography. Only this time, instead of one image per day, it’s 226 images per second. And instead of a bitumen-coated plate, it’s Instagram, an app that enables Apple and Android users to share their lives through photographs in retro-looking filters. It combines old looks with new technology—and it’s absolutely brilliant. This Thanksgiving, Instagramming Americans set a new record by posting ten million photos onto the app, doubling the amounts that are uploaded other days of the year.

I have found the general consensus among my peers to be that Instagram is the place to be. Some have gone so far as to say it has made sites such as Facebook irrelevant, which is ironic considering that the company purchased Instagram for one billion dollars earlier this year.

In any case, it is clear that Americans were thankful for the app this year, posting pictures of meals, family, and decor during the holiday. While people have been photographing these things for so many years, there’s something about Instagram that makes us care more about the turkey other people are eating. Maybe it’s the old time-y filters that make something ordinary extraordinary. Or maybe it’s the simplicity—you scroll through pictures and double tap them if you “like” them. No matter what its draw, it seems that Instagram will be documenting our holiday season at insane rates, and Thanksgiving was just the beginning. Happy holidays and happy gramming!

 

Four Students Bring their Visions to the Laverne Kraus Gallery

-Mike Munoz

If you’ve ever had a class or at least walked through Lawrence Hall on the north side of campus, you’ve probably noticed the art in the Laverne Kraus Gallery. Every week, the gallery gives students and local artists alike the opportunity to showcase their art in front of their peers. But if you’re heading to Lawrence Hall expecting a scene similar to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, you’ve got another thing coming.

This Monday, the Laverne Kraus Gallery opened “Visions: A Collective Art Show,” to a large group of family and friends looking to support the artists. The show features a wide variety of medium, including paintings, photography and graphic design of four University of Oregon students.

One of the featured artists, Rebecca Schnoor, kept viewers guessing with her digital interpretations of landscapes and natural images. Schnoor, a senior Digital Arts Major at the university of Oregon, had an entire wall covered with sixteen prints of landscapes broken down to their most basic, digital forms. “I’m pretty sure that’s a flower,” one spectator would guess. “No, I’m pretty sure that’s a mountain,” another would say. Despite a barrage of questions, Schnoor never revealed her secrets.

Schnoor also had a larger print on an adjacent wall, inspired by the patterns made by lava when it cools. The print is a vibrant collection of intermingling colors and shapes, each individually drawn by Schnoor through Adobe Illustrator. Right next to the print is a skateboard, drilled to a wall with the exact same pattern appearing on its underside. While it may not be your typical canvas, the skateboard certainly seemed to be a popular piece with multiple people asking whether or not it was for sale.

The show also featured the work of Brian Delumpa, Erik Bridgeford and David Mellor. Mellor’s corner of the gallery included paintings of several of his own characters, while Delumpa’s section featured large prints of some of his photography.

If you haven’t already had a chance to check out this show, I would highly recommend seeing it for yourself. Visions will be in Laverne Kraus Gallery until this Friday, so be sure to stop by before it’s all gone!

To see more of Rebecca Schnoor’s art, check out her website here.

On My Way to My Future

-Tiana Bouma

Yesterday was the start of my greatest adventure so far. Although my drive only took me to Portland, I was just as excited as if I was traveling to new a country.

An early flight from the Portland International Airport (PDX) was taking me to Washington D.C for a four day workshop with the senior editor at National Geographic.

Working for National Geographic has been my dream since I was in the single digits. I’ve always been a writer. Whether it was poems, short stories, intros to novels, or the required essays for school, writing was my fail safe and favorite activity. It still is.

As an English major I wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to analyze writing, I wanted to write it. I want to teach people about things that interest me and I want to open up their eyes to places I haven’t seen.

National Geographic had taught me about places I hadn’t seen and subjects I hadn’t learned about before. I still learn from almost every page and I want nothing more to write and work for National Geographic.

So this weekend I get to live a part of my dream as I am taught photography by one of the best photographers I know of. Since I want to work for National Geographic, I may as well get to know the city I will most likely (and hopefully) be living in.

So until Thursday I am going to explore and enjoy my possible future city. And Thursday at four I will finally get to walk through the headquarters of my future dream and live a part of it.

Stay tuned for more about my workshop with National Geographic and the amazing four days I am about to experience!

Toxic Journalism

Protesters in Chile taunt masked policemen in the streets.

[caps]J[/caps]ust before protesters starting throwing rocks at the police, I realized that I didn’t look like a journalist.

The other reporters I could pick out of the crowd wore day-glow sleeves with “PRENSA” printed down the side and their press passes dangled from cords around their necks. They had bigger cameras, professional microphones, and their publications’ emblems all but tattooed on their foreheads.

I was wearing the T-shirt and jeans I wear every day and the same bright red backpack I’ve had for the past three years. The only thing remotely professional about my appearance was the camera in my hands and the laminated press pass peeking out of my pocket. I looked at best like a tourist, at worst like any other protester in the seething crowd. They were students. I was a student. The fact that I was carrying a camera wouldn’t make a good case for my innocence.

A crescendo of clicks differentiated itself from those of the photographers’ shutters, but I couldn’t immediately place the sound. One of the easily identifiable photojournalists pushed passed me, unbuckling the gas mask hanging from his belt.

Why don’t I have one of those? I remember asking myself.

Then I realized that the clicking I heard was the sound of stones bouncing off the riot shields protecting the police line. A siren erupted, the police trucks fired their water cannons, and the air became toxic and heavy – imagine pepper spray blasted from a firefighting hose. Time to run.

The intersection cleared of rioters, but the invisible gas cloud lingered, making the faces of those like myself who lacked the foresight to invest in a gas mask wet with tears and snot. This was the march for the Central Workers Union’s (CUT) national strike that brought roughly 12,000 people to Santiago’s streets on April 16, and I was there reporting it with an incomplete journalism degree and a theoretical grasp on the Spanish language.

Much of what I know, what I was discovering, was grounded only in theory.

For the past three years I had studied electronic media at the University of Oregon, where I’d spent a lot of time in lecture halls being told what makes professional journalism. I had come to Santiago three months earlier eager to apply what I had learned. But a lot of conventions get thrown out the window when you’re facing a hundred “Carabineros,” as the police are called in Chile, clad in full army-green riot gear and lined up in front of several armored trucks with pepper spray dripping from their cannons.

Up to this point my transition from attending journalism school at the University of Oregon had been plodding. I had started off working for The Santiago Times – an online English-language newspaper – translating interviews from Chilean sources for Chile’s English-speaking community. Anxious as I was to get out into the field, I realized the work was to help me with my Spanish skills. The reasons for this became all too apparent when, after I had made some progress with the language, I started interviewing Chileans for the articles I was writing on a daily basis.

As a journalist in Chile I’ve had more than my share of difficult conversations in Spanish, such as conducting 15-minute phone interviews just to extract a yes or no answer. Sometimes public relations representatives will try to use your linguistic ineptitude to dismiss your questions (“Do you have the faculty for the Spanish language to understand that I can’t get you an interview until next week?”). And sometimes the Spanish you’re speaking is not even recognized as Spanish altogether: “What is your position with Carmen Pharmacies?” I asked my subject in Spanish. “I don’t speak English,” he responded in English.

A tank shoots toxic tear gas into the air to break up a riot in Chile. Photo courtesy Simon Boas.

Naturally I struggled with living on the other side of the world and a myriad of cultural disparities, but language was the filter through which I experienced all other difficulties. And all these obstacles coalesced into a sharp blast of uncertainty on the day of the CUT strike.

When the protestors started throwing rocks I thought of my only previous interaction with the Carabineros. I had asked one for directions in my first weeks in Santiago – a particularly miserable exchange, as I remember it. In Chile a large part of the population isn’t used to hearing their language spoken with a foreign accent. That is not to say that they are impatient or rude, just that communication is often slow, clumsy, and humiliating for the native English-speaker. I had tried to ask an officer for directions to a particular street that I knew was in the neighborhood. The officer said he had never heard of it. After several minutes of halting discussion – which included the officer radioing his companions to see if they had heard of the street – he suddenly understood and corrected my pronunciation by repeating the street’s name back to me exactly as I thought I had said it in the first place.

As I watched the police line advance I had a sudden premonition of how much more difficult it would be to make my Spanish intelligible while being arrested in the middle of a riot.

But reporting in Chile humbled more than just my command of the language. The truth was that I simply was not prepared.

Adding to my apprehension during the protest were the numerous warnings on the United States Embassy website that “persons violating Chilean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned,” as well as the rumors I’ve heard from other Americans that an arrest with a tourist visa spells instant deportation. Growing up in Portland, Oregon I’d never been to a protest that had the potential to turn violent, and therefore had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t feel safer when a seasoned photojournalist told me that in Chile police sometimes specifically target reporters during riots to keep media cameras away.

For the past three years I’d been learning skills that apply to reporting in the United States, but that don’t necessarily hold for the rest of the world. There are too many small details unique to every place, like sucking lemons to help curb the effects of the pepper spray, staying upwind from rioters to avoid being gassed, and not expecting police protection. The world is too large to fit into one set of rules for the journalist, no less than anyone else.

Nor did my formal education prepare me for the “real” world. Going from the life of a university student to working as a professional is like moving from one part of the world to another. I did both at the same time, and in both sectors much got lost in translation. I had arrived with a theoretical knowledge of Spanish, of Chile, of the world outside my bubble of the Pacific Northwest and the university. But I wasn’t aware that I had been working with mere theories. I wasn’t expecting to get tear-gassed, for one. Some things you just can’t prepare for.

If I’ve gained anything it’s an awareness of the need to maintain a degree of flexibility. The best I can hope for is to remain open and adapt what I do know to the requirements of my current position. Or, more accurately, learn how to keep my sights level while allowing the situation to call the shots.

My experience at the CUT strike was by no means isolated. People in Chile – and in other parts of the world – do this every day. They grow up with it. But how do you translate that for the green North American journalism intern?

After the workers’ strike I told several friends about my first taste of tear gas. The North American response: “Holy shit.” The Chilean response: “Welcome to Chile.”

Being A Visual Journalist

–Melissa Hoffman

When Flux decided to change things up, they put a bunch of creative minds in a room for two hours twice a week to hash it all out. These creators include writers, editors, copy editors, photographers, videographers, bloggers, tweeters, managers, designers, and webmasters. It seems as if the new journalist is a multi-tasker with a broad range of abilities, so at Flux Stories we all do a little bit of everything. And our press passes say “visual journalist.”

Instead of sticking to one specific aspect of magazine production, say photography or blogging, our visual journalists take on new roles each week.

My first week of production, I ventured to the ghosthunting event in the LLC. I interviewed students and jotted down quotes about paranormal activity in the Pioneer Cemetery, and seriously considered whether I believed in the ghosts supposedly floating around—those Pacific Paranormal folks are pretty convincing!

After I wrote the article, I turned it over to my peers to rip it apart, in the most productive way possible, of course. Several rounds of verb changes and spelling fixes later, I sent my final draft to be published on the Flux website. That week I was a reporter.

This week I was a production manager, which placed me on the other side of the editing process. Instead of writing the story or taking the photos, I edited for grammar and adjusted the white balance of images. I sent emails reminding folks to turn stuff in and gave feedback on everyone’s progress.

Essentially, we’re cultivating our creative powers during those two hours twice each week. We’re finding our niches as we experiment with new skills and different types of leadership roles. As we all figure out what’s working and who’s right for each job, we’re making Flux better than ever.