Public Relations and Journalism majors are getting a glimpse into the life of a photojournalist this semester.
AU’s Department of Communication and Journalism offers a photojournalism course which provides students an opportunity to combine classroom learning with practical, real life assignments using a Nikon D40 camera.
Each week, students are challenged to produce newsprint quality photos that demonstrate technical skill, ethics and creativity. The class serves as an introductory course to photojournalism and guides participants in the exploration of the basic skills and practices used by photojournalist, including the basic history and fundamentals of photography, elements of the camera, and Photoshop editing techniques.
Students are fueled by weekly deadlines and peer critiques; a situation similar to what they could expect in a newsroom environment.
“We have multiple photos due each week,” says Jordan Dailey. “To get just three good photos for a class assignment there can be 150 average photos left on my camera.”
Dailey, also the Campus Assistant Editor for The Plainsman
, is completing her third year in English courses at Auburn. She said that several class periods were spent comparing photographs and noticing how subtle differences, like expression or timing, can turn an average photograph to a great photograph.
Two of the three class sections being offered this semester are taught by Chris Walker, a well-known and highly credited photographer in the industry. Walker has received several awards for his work, including being a Pulitzer finalist in 2000. He has had his work for Midwest county fairs showcased in venues such as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Center for Contemporary Photography.
“It is an exceptional thing to work with someone who has 20 years of experience within their field. His passion and knowledge for photography is obvious his work," says James Cartee, an Auburn graduate student. "He is always willing stay after and log in extra hours in order to help students develop and improve their skills."
The Nikon cameras students use for assignments are provided by the university and covered by student course fees. Students receive their camera at the beginning of the semester and are expected to return the camera by the conclusion of the semester.
Dailey says she has enjoyed learning the art of photography. “I am inspired by the little things here in Auburn. You might look around and think objects and people are mundane, but a camera gives you the ability to take a closer look and really notice the beautiful details,” she says.