Here... Take This Gift: Is Black Friday Worth It?

For this photo story assignment, I found that I was able to obtain a great deal of content. I thought I would struggle to capture cohesive photos that showed a timeline of events. I chose to cover America’s famous holiday pastime- Black Friday shopping. I wanted to cover this issue because I do believe photojournalism can bring about change. With compelling stories and photos people can see an issue for what it is, or in the case of Black Friday what it is not. For this photo story I researched how other media have covered Black Friday and the strengths and weaknesses of their stories. The majority of the information I found was in relation to Black Friday sales and their effect on the economy and the effects of cyber Monday on the brick and mortars.

When creating this photo story, I based my content off of researching which stores would most likely have the most Black Friday shoppers. This assignment has enforced the significance of being prepared and trying to plan ahead for curveballs. This information has not only helped me in continuing photojournalism but in my day to day. For this assignment we were also tasked with interviewing subjects and adding audio. Interviewing skills can always be improved upon. Learning to work with tools like Photoshop and Audacity were challenging but thank goodness for Youtube. This assignment tested me in many ways but was a valuable learning tool. I was able to experience an event in which so many Americans participate and gain a perspective contrasting my own.

Black Friday. Across the U.S. Black Friday has become a phenomenon. Well known as the busiest shopping day of the year over 100 million people set out to stores in the 2017 season. Thirty percent of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas, writes, TheBalance.com. Why do so many of us participate in this frenzy of consumption. This year in 2018 many stores opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening. Many Americans chose to leave their homes and their families to stand hours in lines to purchase goods. It seems counterproductive to show someone how much to love them by leaving them to buy a “thing.” If time is our most precious resource, why are we spending a holiday standing in line at Walmart next to people we don’t know.

Do we need Black Friday? My answer is No. I think there are many items we choose to consume rather than need. Like many others I fall victim to catchy advertisements and attractive marketing, but I have to train myself to remember where my priorities lie. Which is with the people in my life. What would you gain if you chose to stay in during those Black Friday sales? Less stress, more time with family? For me these are worth not scoring that 99-cent poinsettia from Home Depot at 5 a.m. I don’t view shopping as criminal, but I do feel our holidays would be happier if we all focused more on the sentiment rather than the stuff.  

The Unexpected Athlete: Techniques Sports Photographers Use to Create History

Nothing quite matches the intensity and passion that is an athletic event. Whether you are an avid sports fan or cringing on the sidelines, humans are attracted to competition. It’s ingrained in our biology. Sports bring this out in us and sports photographers must capture it. According to Photojournalism a Professionals Approach, “Sports photographers are like athletes. They need the aim of a major league pitcher, the reflexes of a basketball guard, and the concentration of a tennis player.”

To work as a sports photographer there are some skills one needs. You have to be ready for fast paced environments. Some of the greatest sports moments happen within a second and you have to be prepared and ready to shoot. Sports photographers also need to be punctual. Readers don’t want to see or hear about sports moments a week after the event has occurred. A mature sports reporter also keeps up with the stats of players and the game, knowing this info could mean capturing a record-breaking moment.

 Before this assignment I did not consider fans being such a huge part of sports photography. Fans are a pivotal part of the game and can depict in which direction the game is going even without viewing the direct action. Another aspect this assignment taught me was the necessity of captions in sports photography.  Captions should include the 5 W’s plus the H: Who, What When, Where, Why and How, according to Photojournalism the Professionals Approach. Being prepared with caption information allows the photographer to not lose photos in the shuffle of hundreds taken during the game.  

 Sports Photographers use several techniques when shooting sports. The most common is freezing action. Freezing action is doing just as it describes stopping the action in that moment of time, so the athlete or athletes are completely clear. Another technique used in shooting sports is panned motion. Panning allows for the showcase of movement. The subject is in focus, but the background is streaked. In this case the goal of the photographer is to convey the motion or play of the sport, such as a track star running across the finish line.

 Whether you choose to shoot sports by stopping the action or allowing for the view of movement sports are exhilarating to shoot. Some of the most recognized photos in history were shot by sports photographers, from Muhammad Ali knocking out George Foreman to the images of the “Miracle on Ice,” when an underdog U.S. team toppled the USSR powerhouse during the 1980 Olympics. Being a part of a historic moment in sports for players and fans allows people to exist completely in a moment, without the thought of personal or outside struggles. People of various backgrounds are together in an extremely passionate way to support their team. In the blink of an eye the action can end, and these moments are what a sports photographers strive to capture.