Students present original photo stories after week-long workshop
Photojournalism students challenged their beliefs to capture photos of different communities in a week-long photography workshop.
After staying up past 3 a.m. the evening before editing and adding their final touches, the nine students were prepared to present their final photo series in special event, “Fault Line: A Nation Divided” Monday, Oct. 30 in Moore Hall, Room 101.
The workshop was conducted by professional photographer and filmmaker Danny Wilcox Frazier. The Iowa native has had work featured on National Geographic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.
This marks his fifth year visiting Central Michigan University to lead a workshop assisted by journalism faculty Kent Miller.
The workshop kicked off Oct. 18, Blissfield junior Mikayla Carter said. On this day students had to propose their story ideas to Frazier over skype. The following week, they were responsible for entering the homes, communities and private lives of their subjects.
Carter and first year Saginaw transfer student Josie Norris both followed fellow CMU students to complete their tasks.
Carter followed Maham Khan, a Midland sophomore who is a Muslim.
“Maham is a confident woman, she speaks openly about the stereotypes and breaks them down,” Carter said. “During this workshop I learned that it’s not about the photos, it’s about making connections. I was able to further my connection with Maham and made a good friend.”
Frazier said the theme of the workshop was to promote understanding at a time where it is most needed.
“The work produced over this last week is a response to the political and social division that has overtaken a nation,” Frazier said. “A deeper look is necessary to understand what has brought this country to where it stands.”
He said the dedication and passion provided by students throughout the workshop provides him with the assurance that their mission to spotlight a better understanding of those of different backgrounds is achievable.
Norris used her assignment to follow four African-American men attending the university.
“Racism is not something that went away,” she said. “It is reformed to different things and that was something I had numerous, numerous conversations with friends about.”
She said she wanted to do something big and that it would be the first time her beliefs would correlate with her work.
“This has been something really special this past week,” Norris said.
Two of her subjects were Illinois senior Deont’e Gardner and Brighton senior Aaron Johnson.
Gardner said Norris’s project showed that black lives do matter.
“We are like the forgotten souls and people do try to slight us no matter how you’ve come,” Gardner said.
Other projects presented included several students who traveled to rural communities to showcase the lifestyles of being predominantly pro-gun and limited from urban society. Other students captured the intimate lives of refugee communities in Michigan, a foster home for adults and children, and members of a church located in East Detroit.