My most recent major assignment for my Reporting International class (a final semester class) was to create a six photo slide show that tied an international issue back here to the states. Our teacher encouraged us to use audio as well, but it was not technically a requirement.
My international issue was originally going to focus on the Cambodian garment industry and the effect it has here in Chicago. I was planning on connecting with Chicago’s Cambodian population to see if anyone had immigrated here (or had a relative who immigrated here) specifically because of the sub par standards in Cambodia’s garment factories.
Only, after meeting with a woman from the Cambodian Association of Illinois, I realized that Cambodia’s Chicago population is very small (3-4,000 people), and the woman I spoke with didn’t seem to think that many in the community has strong ties to the garment industry.
This experience, plus a series of other dead leads, led to a panicked moment of breaking down and that hopeless feeling when you want desperately to work on something, but have nothing on which to work.
I was already planning on attending the Out of Afghanistan Now protest downtown in the hopes of making some Afghani contacts for a future International Class project. But I thought it wouldn’t hurt to bring my camera just in case this event would in any way work out to be my slide show.
Boy did it ever.
My Reporting International professor, Jackie Spinner–a Washington Post veteran who was a correspondent during the war in Iraq–kept telling us to leave our iPhones at home when we go out to shoot an event. She said even though we may think the iPhones take good pictures, they look totally unprofessional.
So I took my point and shoot Canon to the protest. And I’m really glad I did. I was able to get some very close shots and just having the camera made me feel like someone who was more with it than those poor fools with their Blackberries and smart phones.
Take a look for yourself.