In-Depth Project

Hailey Hofer

haileya.atavist.com/visualizing-anxiety

Self Critique:

While this project is different from the typical journalistic format, I feel it really fits this difficult subject of anxiety. I worked really hard to visualize the topic in a way that really helps explain what my subject feels on a day to day basis.  Again, I'm happy I stuck with my subject from the first project to dig deeper into her experience. Though, as I point out on my project page, This video is an illustration of Soehlke’s anxiety. While this is the way she feels during an attack, everyone’s experience is different. This is not to sum up anxiety in three minutes, but to give insight to viewers. I think that's a really important note to make when it comes to topics like these. Not everyone experiences the drowning sensation Soehlke does. That's what makes this project so difficult. Nonetheless, I'm very proud of the work I've put in to this project. It's different from anything I've done before, and it's something I've always wanted to try. I think when covering tricky topics, getting creative is one of the best ways to best ways you can tell the story at hand. I'm exhausted, I've slept for two measly hours, and still have an exam to take before presenting my work. While mentally, i'm drained, I feel great looking back at the work I've completed. Not only with this project, but in this class as a whole. I've learned a lot and truly gained a lot of confidence after working with all the terrific photographers in this class. I think first going into capstone, I was scared out of my mind. I was intimidated and unsure of my abilities. I've come a long way, and I pray that this video shows that. There are definitely things I would love to change or tweak or completely cut from this project, but it's a work in progress, much like myself. I plan to hopefully continue this project, helping others illustrate their mental illnesses. I want to help people feel better and push towards breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Final WIP

As I am working on my last photo project as an undergrad at Mizzou, I'm starting to realize how happy I am to have dove deeper into my original 5 points of view project. Right now I'm working on a video for my project. I asked my subject to try to put into words exactly what her anxiety feels like, to help the audience better understand what she goes through when an attack pursues. I realize not all anxiety attacks feel the same, as mine feel very different to hers, but I hope that sharing her experience helps people realize how terrible this disorder is.  At this moment, I still have a lot of editing and b-roll to piece together before this interview video is complete. It's completely untouched as of now but the content is powerful so I'm excited to piece it together tomorrow. 

https://vimeo.com/266133698

In the Cards

Erin Bormett, Hailey Hofer, and Liv Paggiarino

https://tarotsquad.atavist.com/in-the-cards

We finished at about 1:30am. Delirious yet exhausted, we ended the night with a group hug. It was a big project, much bigger than any of us were really expecting it to be. I think it's always hard when you realize how much work goes into making a couple of 2-3 minute videos. But, of course, once you've put so much effort into getting the story and filming, it has to be perfect. I'm so happy with how our multimedia package turned out. I also loved working with Erin and Liv. We were all very passionate about telling this story as best as we possibly could, and I think that really shows in the end product.   

Self Critique:

I'm very proud of the piece that Liv, Erin, and I were able to create. It took a lot of planning and creativity, especially once we decided to make a more interpretive video of what might go on in our subject's head. I think we did great with the interpretive video, same with the the doc video. However, I feel like our doc video ended up pretty repetitive, even after cutting down a lot of it before we decided to export. The audio wasn't completely perfect, but overall, I feel really confident in what we created. I'm so happy we got a client that was okay with us filming a reading-- truly, if we did not have that b-roll, our video would have not turned out as well since a lot of the b-roll we got the first time we interviewed our subject got repetitive since it was a lot of detail shots. Liv and I worked hard to get the doc video looking nice, and Erin worked so hard on the infographic and text. The team worked really well together, which made the entire experience really enjoyable. Overall, I'm really proud of the work we accomplished. 

In-Depth Project

Ideas

  • Surrogate Mothers - Portrait series of surrogate mothers (potentially the parents as well). OR just a series of surrogate mothers interacting with the parents they are surrogates for. Both ideas would show the wide variety of people who use surrogate mothers to have children. 
  • Bedrooms- series documenting people's most intimate spaces. How do they adorn their rooms? How do rooms change as people get older? Compare and contrast the differences in rooms. I feel like people's rooms are very telling of who they are as a person  
  • Extension of my first project- what would I need to do to make it complete? 

 

So this essay comes from a Columbia-based photographer. I love the idea of this essay. The photographer photographed people over the age of 100 and photographed them in a way where the viewer may not be 100% sure what they are looking at. The project first began when a 101-year-old woman asked the photographer to photograph her in the nude. After doing so, the photographer realized that this could be a really cool project. The photographer utilizes the studio setup to play with shadows and texture of the aged skin. To be honest, this project freaked me out to begin with. The images can be startling since they're so intimate with a subject that I'm not entirely used to seeing in such a way. But then I came to realize that this is kind of the point of the project. It is addressing the fear of growing old and becoming wrinkly in a world so used to botox and maintaining perfect appearances. The images are made in an abstract way to keep the viewer guessing on what they are viewing. 

 

 

 

SINDHA AGHA

"Birth Control You Own Adventure"

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/09/opinion/birth-control-your-own-adventure.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fop-docs&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=collection

I stumbled upon this multimedia piece on Facebook the other day. I'm a big fan of the NYTimes Op-Doc videos already, but truly think this is one of my favorite ones yet. It is an illustrative piece to this women's real struggle of figuring out her body on birth control. It is emotional, even without human imagery. The story is strong and the illustrations carry the piece incredibly well. I watched this and really felt the pain of the subject, although I have never gone through anything like what she has. I feel like it's so important to find a strong central character for multimedia stories, because they're voice really has to convince the viewer of their struggle compared to stills where we get the opportunity to frame the story in the best way for the audience to understand. This is why asking the right questions is so important and why starting early on projects is important--so you can find great storytellers like the woman in this video. And yes, I know that the woman who made the video is sharing her own story, but nonetheless, I think the importance of starting early and finding the right subject for your story is still the same. 

Personality Project

 

 Jessica Soehlke is 22 years old. She attends the University of Missouri where she holds a senior standing. She is from O'Fallon, Illinois, but prefers to tell people she is from St. Louis due to her strong ties to the St. Louis Blues. She is an involved member on Missouri's campus. Jessica Soehlke is diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression.

Jessica Soehlke is 22 years old. She attends the University of Missouri where she holds a senior standing. She is from O'Fallon, Illinois, but prefers to tell people she is from St. Louis due to her strong ties to the St. Louis Blues. She is an involved member on Missouri's campus. Jessica Soehlke is diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression.

 Jessica Soehlke scratches her head while watching television in her apartment bedroom. Soehlke admits her hair has gotten thinner in the past year due to high levels of stress.

Jessica Soehlke scratches her head while watching television in her apartment bedroom. Soehlke admits her hair has gotten thinner in the past year due to high levels of stress.

 Jessica Soehlke takes an Instagram video on a bridge at Cooper's Landing in Columbia. Soehlke has struggled with anxiety and depression from a very young age. While she still struggles with her mental illness to this day, she finds herself in a much better place as she has found that being vocal about her mental health with others helps her. By voicing her experiences, she also finds that it helps others better understand and work towards creating a more supportive environment for Soehlke and others like her.  

Jessica Soehlke takes an Instagram video on a bridge at Cooper's Landing in Columbia. Soehlke has struggled with anxiety and depression from a very young age. While she still struggles with her mental illness to this day, she finds herself in a much better place as she has found that being vocal about her mental health with others helps her. By voicing her experiences, she also finds that it helps others better understand and work towards creating a more supportive environment for Soehlke and others like her.  

 Jessica Soehlke drove to Cooper's Landing after spending her morning studying at Memorial Union on Missouri's campus. Soehlke visits the river often. She finds driving soothing and sitting along the water helps her stay calm.

Jessica Soehlke drove to Cooper's Landing after spending her morning studying at Memorial Union on Missouri's campus. Soehlke visits the river often. She finds driving soothing and sitting along the water helps her stay calm.

 Jessica Soehlke has attached several pins to her jean jacket. Each pin holds a special meaning to her. Since the release of the Netflix series "Stranger Things", Soehlke has used the show as a form of self-care. She says she the show makes her feel better. Over winter break, she watched the new season with her family.  Soehlke has also pinned a Mickey Mouse pin to her jacket. She has just accepted a position with the Disney College Program and will be moving to Florida for a semester, where she will be working in retail.

Jessica Soehlke has attached several pins to her jean jacket. Each pin holds a special meaning to her. Since the release of the Netflix series "Stranger Things", Soehlke has used the show as a form of self-care. She says she the show makes her feel better. Over winter break, she watched the new season with her family.  Soehlke has also pinned a Mickey Mouse pin to her jacket. She has just accepted a position with the Disney College Program and will be moving to Florida for a semester, where she will be working in retail.

 As a present to herself for her strength and resilience when it comes to her mental illness, Jessica Soehlke got "courage over fear" tattooed on her left arm as a reminder to keep pushing herself everyday. She got the tattoo in November of 2016. To her, the message is simple. She says it serves as a daily reminder that her courage to live life will ultimately always overcome her fear to do so.

As a present to herself for her strength and resilience when it comes to her mental illness, Jessica Soehlke got "courage over fear" tattooed on her left arm as a reminder to keep pushing herself everyday. She got the tattoo in November of 2016. To her, the message is simple. She says it serves as a daily reminder that her courage to live life will ultimately always overcome her fear to do so.


Outtakes

 

 Jessica Soehlke preps the boards her sorority will use for the philanthropic event, Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis. Soehlke will participate in the event, lip syncing and dancing to a Lady Gaga song. Soehlke, who has dreams of being on Saturday Night Live one day, has participated in her sorority's skits for homecoming, greek week, and RAMS throughout the years. 

Jessica Soehlke preps the boards her sorority will use for the philanthropic event, Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis. Soehlke will participate in the event, lip syncing and dancing to a Lady Gaga song. Soehlke, who has dreams of being on Saturday Night Live one day, has participated in her sorority's skits for homecoming, greek week, and RAMS throughout the years. 

 Jessica Soehlke watches as her sorority sisters practice their dance routine for the philanthropic event, Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis. The event's purpose is to raise money and provide services for the MS Institute of Mid-Missouri.

Jessica Soehlke watches as her sorority sisters practice their dance routine for the philanthropic event, Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis. The event's purpose is to raise money and provide services for the MS Institute of Mid-Missouri.

Reading Reaction

Lamott, Gross & Shapiro

I really like this idea in Gross & Shapiro's reading on freedom from a sense of self that merging of self with the photographic subject matter is a prerequisite if one's vision is to be effectively expressed in the language of photography. When they include Henri Cartier-Bresson's suggestion that a photographer must merge with the environment, like a fish in water, forgetting yourself, I feel really connected to that. I feel like my best work comes out when I really immerse myself into the environment I'm in. I try and imagine what the scene would look like without my presence and how I can represent my subject in a hailey-less/camera-less way. I think maybe that's why I always feel like the photos I create are simply happy accidents, because I forget that I actually know what I'm doing and solely focus on how to best represent my subject in their surroundings.  

The second Gross & Shapiro reading talks about spontaneity. I also agree with the fact that the best photographs are the ones you don't go in knowing will happen. I also think that subjects are often uncomfortable with a camera in their face, rather than the photographer's own face so some of the best reactions or moments can be missed if you aren't quick to react or can't anticipate that a big moment is about to happen. I think something that really can stump photographers is when the don't have the perfect setup or conditions to work in, however photographers must be flexible in order to get quality material. You can really get creative when you have to figure out how to work your shots in different conditions. 

In Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, she talks about the magic and anticipation that comes with polaroid cameras. She talks about taking a photo of her school lunch bag and once it developed she realized there was a boy leaning against the wall in the background. Unfortunately, with the development of digital cameras, we have lost this anticipation or unknowing of what we're capturing. While in the past things weren't noticed at first, we now have the ability to fully recognize each part of the photos we're taking. This makes for a much more efficient form of photographing, but it's now very easy to make images as well. I believe it takes a certain eye to get the images that really pack a punch. A quote I really liked from this section was, You just knew that there was something about these people that compelled you, and you stayed with that something long enough for it to show you what it was about" This reminds me the advice given to photographers to "arrive early and stay late". 

 

 

3

Group Project Ideas

 

Girl Culture- evaluate the girl culture of today by following a young girl (high school? middle school?). See how social media plays a role in young girls' lives today. Try to understand why young girls today are much more pulled together and polished compared to when we were their age. Does social media play a role? Must one always be photo ready? A very Lauren Greenfield kind of story. 

Mother/child relationship- I find relationships between people incredibly fascinating. I think a multimedia piece on a relationship between a mother and her child would be very interesting. This would entail documenting their morning routine together, their opinions of one another, their daily routine and overall interactions with one another. 

Father/son relationship- Flipping the switch on the last topic, this topic also interests me. I would love to find an athlete who's father pushes them really hard to perform their best. Documenting their interactions and daily routines with one another would be pretty interesting in my opinion. If the son was resentful towards the father's pushy behavior when it comes to sports that could provide some interesting conflict in the story as well. 

 

I Waited 96 Years

Katie Falkenberg

https://vimeo.com/190902895

For an example of a great multimedia piece, I chose this video from the LA Times. The story of Velva Stone is already very strong-- her mother was a suffragette, and she herself was born just seven years before women had the right to vote-- but the details that the b-roll bring to the table push the story to be even strong. While growing up, other suffragette women were in her home so Stone learned a lot from them. Stone has long awaited the moment to vote for a female presidential candidate, and when she finally has the opportunity, Hillary Clinton loses. I chose this story because it has a strong central character with a very interesting past, and the way that the journalist pieced together her interview with the details of the Hillary Clinton memorabilia pushed the story line of just how much Stone cared that a women was finally a presidential candidate. My favorite detail shot is of Stone's table a photo/magazine cover of Hillary Clinton along with a couple of cookies. This paired with the stitched "A women's place is in the White House" show that she really is a little old lady who is very politically aware--even at the age of 103. 

Mughli: The Lonely Mother

 Altaf Qadri

https://www.altafqadri.com/gallery-grid/mughli

I've seen so many examples of successful picture stories during my study of photojournalism so it was hard not to immediately pull up one that I have seen in class before. I wanted to search for something new to me, but powerful. I do not know how I came across the work of Altaf Qadri, but found his story on Mughli to be very visually moving. The story follows a Kashmiri woman whose young son was disappeared in Kashmir. She became one of the first members of the Association Of Parents Of Disappeared Persons (APDP). I chose this story because of the visual variety it offers as well as the great representation of the toll that her son's disappearance has had on her life. This piece shows how important it is to spend a large chunk of time with your subject in order to get powerful imagery.