Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jennifer Midberry: "Work On Developing Your Style."

Jennifer Midberry thought she might grow up and become an elementary school teacher. Or a social worker of some sort. Then she won a photo contest while being a student at Bucks County Community College. She met a few professional photojournalists who were encouraging and she meandered her way into being a professional shooter herself.

She's managed to build a career that allows her to see the world and tell stories about issues she cares about.

"People open their doors to journalists," Jennifer said. "Being a journalist lets you see things most people wouldn't ordinarily see."

Here are a few things she said that stood out for me:

• You need to take the initiative. When 9/11 happened, she went to New York City and documented the aftermath of the attack, despite not working for a news organization. Because she was there, she was able to sell the images she made. And that lead to her first full-time shooting job.
• "Being a journalist means you get to see everything as it happens," she said. "You get to be on the front lines of history."

• Following 9/11, she was upset about the portrayal of the Islamic community and Muslim-Americans by the media. This made her want to travel to the Middle East and learn more about this culture that was being maligned.

• She does not believe that objectivity can exist in the media. "You're always documenting from a certain perspective," she said. "We have a lot of control over the messages conveyed in photos."
• "The role of the press is to draw attention to social issues," Jennifer said. "We keep government accountable, and we offer different perspectives."

Jennifer offered this advice to those interested in photojournalism:

• Everyone studying photojournalism will develop similar technical skills. It's how you see, compose and visually tell stories that will make you stand out. "Get technically proficient and then forget about it," she said. "Work on developing your style."
• "You can do a lot with very simple equipment," she said.
• You will have assignments involving topics you don't care about (Jennifer doesn't care for sports). So she tried to shoot them in her own style.
• You need to have commitment and drive, and you need to take the initiative if you are going to succeed.
• As a female photojournalist, she tried to use her size and gender to her advantage.


John Murrow said...

It was pretty cool seeing all of her pictures, with all of the different places that she has traveled. She repeated what every other speaker we have had also repeated, having more than one skill. Having her own style helped her, along with pursuing what she enjoyed doing the most in life. I enjoyed having Jennifer in as a speaker and she was very inspiring.

Karina Cheung said...

I loved this speaker! She has seen bits and pieces of history and overall she was very honest and probably one of the more inspirational speakers we've had!

Alexis Wilkinson said...

What I got out of her talking to the class was that it is not just a picture she is taking but a moment in someone’s life. Each picture represents something or someone and it is able to tell a story. I liked how she took the initiative after 9/11 and looked to see what she could do. Since she went out there and did what she wanted to do it enabled news outlets to hire her.

Michelle Saul-Yamasaki said...

I was able to connect with Jennifer the most out of all of the speakers because she pursued what she was passionate about. She had assignments but she made them her own. And I really liked the fact that she went out of her way to cover stories that mattered to her and were meaningful to her, she didn't do it just because someone told her to, in came from her heart and creativity. I also liked her mindfulness of the effect we as journalists have on the world and peoples' perspective of the world.

Scott Samuel David Weiss said...

On Tuesday 29 November 2011, Temple University student and photojournalist Jennifer Midberry presented her photography portfolio and spoke to the Journalism and Society students. Marc Zumoff seemed to have more pizazz in his speaking tone than Midberry. Midberry seemed to mumble, switch paper from one hand to the next, and spoke at a rapid pace (must articulate clearly).
"One of the most incredibly exciting things as a photojournalist is you se everything," Midberry admitted. "Be openly aware of your biases."
In a difficult manner, Midberry decided to travel to Ground Zero on 9/11/2001 fo snapping images on her own will, which helped he get hed in the business. Midberry sounded like she had been ready to shed tears while explaining some of her difficut emotional photos.
-Scott Samuel David Weiss
Temple Class of 2015, Journalism

Ruth Garrett said...

I loved this presentation because to me, pictures send powerful messages that sometimes words alone cannot describe. Although her speaking style was not as energetic as Marc Zumoff, her pictures were amazing and her journey to success was similar to every one we have heard from. She basically wanted us all to know that if we want to succeed, we have to do it ourselves and have the drive to do so. All of the speakers that have made presentations for this class have been inspiring and have helped me to understand that no matter what path I take, as long as I stay committed and motivated I will succeed.

Shauna Bannan said...

I really enjoyed Jennifer's presentation. I felt that she was more inspiring than some of the other speakers we've had (not to say that they weren't inspiring, because they were too). What really sparked my interest was her ambition and initiative to do her own thing, like capturing images in her own style and going to graduate school. She was very honest and articulate in everything she said, and she seemed very devoted to her work. Overall, I thought Jennifer was motivating and mindful.

Austin Sushel said...

I was hanging onto every word of Midberry's presentation. I was so inspired by her drive and her passion! That's how everybody should feel about their jobs. You have to do what makes YOU happy. That's what I got out of it.

Joe Collins said...

I enjoyed Jennifer Midberry's talk very much. I think that she offered a great, real-world perspective on photojournalism. Her photos gave me a new appreciation of the genre, particularly the one of the governor awkwardly eating lunch with the students as it made me realize just how much can be expressed through a photo. But, i think my favorite aspect of Jennifer's talk was her honesty: while objectivity is a nice goal, it is pretty much unrealistic. I tend to agree with that notion. It is great to strive to be unbiased, but I think that when it comes down to it everyone is going to put their own type of spin on their journalism, whether they mean to or even realize it or not, and I found her admittance or lucidity of this sentiment to be quite refreshing.