Reading Reaction: Lamott and Hurn & Jay

Lamott – School Lunches and Polaroids

Anne Lamott talks about school lunches in this section. Lamott says that if you ever have writers block or are just not sure what to say, that the reporter should write as if they are describing a school lunch. This includes main course, taste, sides and overall experience. This is supposed to help them break down the details of a story and list off the basic information that the reader should know. If the writer does this, then they can get the ideas flowing and hopefully be able to expand further. Once you start writing things, ideas should be able to come more easily.

I think that what Lamott says about writer's block can be looked at from a photography perspective as well. If you are unsure where a story is going or just don't know what to shoot, then you should shoot what you see. Start photographing the basics of the subject or situation and you will eventually come up with new and unique ideas to capture what the viewers will find interesting. The same thing can be said about editing a take as well. Once the story is shot one of the hardest parts can be deciding how to arrange your photos. If you at least start with a chronological order, listing off the basics of what you photographed, then you might be able to see other patterns or unique perspectives that you didn't notice before.

When Lamott writes about a story being like a polaroid she says that a story can develop and change into something new over time, just like a polaroid photograph. This can be said about almost anything journalistic. When shooting a story, you never know where it is going to go, you just have to be prepared for where it might take you. I think that when getting involved with a story it is important to remember that if you go into it with a specific mind set, then you will not notice when the story shifts. But if you begin with an open mind and alert for any story angle, then the ideas will be more easily accessible. It is important to adapt while working on any type of story.

Hurn & Jay: Selecting a Subject

Hurn and Jay talk about the difficulties of finding a subject in this section and I have to agree with them. One of the most difficult parts of any journalism related class for me is coming up with ideas and then, from there, finding a subject. I think that what they write about in this is important. They touch on the fact that if you do not know much about a subject, to drop the idea. It is hard to go into an assignment blind and even more difficult to complete a photo story with such little knowledge.

Hurn and Jay say that passion and curiosity is what is important when telling a story. It is so difficult to portray an interesting story that the viewer can relate to if the photographer themselves does not find a connection as well. If you only approach a subject with a "laundry list" of photo styles and techniques you need to use, then the photographs become lifeless and creates a flat character. I agree with them when they say that a photographer's interest in the subject is what will drive the story because, without that, there is no reason to expect the viewer to be excited as well.