Students captured "the faces of migration" through photojournalism
A week of almost no sleep, long critiques and guidance from one of the most recognized photographers in the world was the reality of 14 photojournalism students at Central Michigan University.
The fourth annual photojournalism workshop led by photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier, photography professor Kent Miller and alumni mentors presented their work on Sunday, Nov. 14 in the Charles V. Park Library. The theme of the workshop was FENCES: Faces of Migration.
"(The workshop) is about bringing my passion for the work I do and sharing that with the students, and helping them find topics and issues that they feel passionately about, that they connect to, that they want to make sure the public knows about," Frazier said.
The 14 students who took part in the week-long workshop shared their photo stories and talked about the meaningful experiences they had learning about their subjects and the knowledge they gained about the perception of immigration in America.
"(The people who were photographed) are people who have great trust in the students, the journalism department at CMU and the workshop," Frazier said. "They have great trust to share their stories and that's a really important thing I work to instill in young photographers, that trust is one of the most important things, and they can't violate that trust."
Each student talked about their photo story before it was displayed on screen, and then unrolled a banner with a collage of the pictures they took. The banners will be displayed around campus and in the community.
Every photo story focused on a specific family or individual who was a migrant living in America, or had gone through immigrating to the US, except for Midland senior Kaiti Chritz. For her project, she tracked hashtags on social media about immigration and looked for examples of the topic in the media and presidential debate.
"I hope it sheds light on how media is addressing immigration right now in our country," Chritz said.
Farmington Senior Emily Mesner spent time photographing and spending time with a family who migrated to America.
"The family I got to know is so strong and full of hope," Mesner said. "My favorite time is when I slowed down and put my camera down and got to know them."
She said this project made her realize that for something to share intimate details of their life, you have to also share with them and form a relationship.
Frazier said the quality of the work was remarkable, especially out of young undergraduate photographers, and that everyone finished with a compelling product.
"They were immersed in a really intensive environment where they were working nonstop and not sleeping, being pushed harder and harder, pushing themselves then having me ask them to do things before the workshop they thought they would never have to do," Frazier said.
This is the fourth year the workshop has been held. Students were chosen based on interest and commitment.