03/28/2011–PJ Goes to NYC

Photographer Frank Fournier talks with RIT students studying photojournalism. The third year students visited Mr. Fournier when they were in New York City for a week.

This morning (Monday) we met with Frank Fournier in his loft. Mr. Fournier was an amazing person to listen to and to ask questions. He didn’t show us any of his work, but I honestly didn’t notice this until after we left. I think that speaks strongly to his ability to communicate.

He told of stories of how you may get the best pictures out of an assignment even if you show up late. This was brought up after two classmates were came rather late. But, they had stopped to help a man having a heart attack.

Another key thing that Mr. Fournier said is that “the most important thing is the story, not the photography.” David LaBelle said something all those lines at the Northern Short Course this year as well. I hadn’t heard it said this way too much before, but the truth of it is resounding. I really don’t care too much about the individual pictures. The stories behind them are so much more interesting and important. As Mr. Fournier said, photography is a bridge. It links the subject and the viewer. I don’t think photography was ever meant to be a roadblock.

Another really big idea that Mr. Fournier talked about today was that you need to establish yourself. You cannot go out and hope to sell yourself to others, or to get work and not be turned into another person if you do not know who you are. I think that is one big thing that I really need to do. I need more experience in areas other than photography. I need to figure out more of what drives me before I can really hope to do anything significant in photography.

Anthony Suau shows his work to RIT photojournalism students. Mr. Suau is a photographer for Facing Change. As described on its website, Facing Change is "a non-profit collective of dedicated photojournalists and writers coming together to explore America and to build a forum to chart its future."

We also met with two photographers involved with Facing Change, Anthony Suau and Alan Chin. They both showed us a significant amount of their work and talked about different projects they have been involved with.

Andrew Fingerman from Photoshelter gave us a demonstration of their website, and he is hooking us up with a trial of it. Thanks Andrew!

We then had dinner with Mr. Suau and Mr. Chin, where they reviewed our portfolios. It was good to hear some different feedback. They liked some of my skateboarding images and said I should go and work on that story more. I had only shown them a few singles, so I then showed them the whole story I had done. They responded to the skateboarding story far better than they did to the other story in my portfolio. I’m hoping I will be able to continue work on the skateboarding story this quarter.

Off to VII, Mediastorm, and Getty tomorrow. Ending the day with an Eddie Adams Workshop Event: A Night of Photography and Music.

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