Behind the Lens: The photographers of NYFW

For our writing and reporting seminar, we grad students were assigned a #NYFW story. We could cover any aspect of Fashion Week, as long as we spoke to people involved in it. I hung around outside Lincoln Center one afternoon and noticed the throngs of photographers–many more than there were fashion divas. I grew interested in their backstories. This is the result.

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The scene outside Lincoln Center on day three of New York Fashion Week.

Without photographers, the fashion industry would not exist. Designers’ work would never reach the masses and trends would fall flat if no one captured and spread them. Even fashion novices know that there would be no “America’s Next Top Model” without Nigel Barker to immortalize every aspiring pout and “smize.

Fashion and photography have played off of one another since Condé Nast hired German photographer Baron Adolph de Meyer to shoot portraits for “Vogue.” In the 1980’s and ‘90’s, photographer Richard Avedon shot Versace campaigns that shaped and defined the brand. Bruce Weber did the same for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren—neither brand would be the same today without Weber’s influence. The evolution of photography has changed the shape of the fashion industry time and time again.

New York Fashion Week brings fashion’s reliance on photos into sharp focus. Go anywhere near Lincoln Center and you’ll see flocks of camera-toting photographers clamoring to capture the best runway or street style looks. Some have credentials and some are novices. Some are at work and others are there for the spectacle and the experience. All derive energy from the high-fashion culture that surrounds them as they jockey for a shot.

“It’s kind of crazy,” says Morgan Beye eying the surrounding crowd outside of Lincoln Center. Beye is the director of photography for Schiffer Fashion Press in Philadelphia. This fall the company will produce a look book with photos from every runway show in Fashion Week—all 277 of them.

Beye is in charge of a six-person photography team. It’s her job to corral the group and to send them out on assignment as needed. She’s an integral part of that group and comes with a few NYFW horror stories of her own.

“In the runways there’s a pit for photographers, and they shove like 200 grown men in there,” she told me. “You fight for a spot and you don’t want to lose it. Once I was pushed over and my spot was taken; I was on the ground and [the guy] stood there staring at me.”

Although her hand was bleeding and her expensive equipment lay scattered everywhere, Beye got back up and tried to focus on the shoot. In her words, “the show must go on.”

Today she’s armed and ready with a heavy camera bag on one shoulder and a clipboard clutched in the other hand. A press pass dangles against her stylish striped crop top and brushes the waistline of her black skater skirt. Her strappy heels are planted wide and firm. The next show is starting—she’s going in.

Louisa Wells has just come out. She’s riding the tide of people leaving the Song Jung Wan show at the Lincoln Center Pavilion. When she makes it to the front of the crowd, she adjusts her position, bends a knee and starts snapping photos.

Wells just moved here from Nashville, where she worked for local lifestyle magazines, and a few fashion bloggers reached out to her to take their Fashion Week photos. She’s also working with a friend on a “Bravo” piece, which gets her backstage access.

I ask what backstage is like. She laughs, then gives a familiar answer: “It’s crazy!” Hair and makeup are constantly going on around her. The stage lights burn with the heat of a Sahara sun. But through all the commotion, Wells focuses on capturing intimate moments.

“I was on the High Line earlier and I caught a little moment of a couple holding hands,” she says. “It was really cute. Stuff like that is my favorite.”

But she admits that “the pit,” as they call it, can be trying.

“There’s a pecking order for sure,” she says. “WWD [Women’s Wear Daily], Vogue, they all have top priority and everyone else fills in. It’s a matter of making sure people’s arms and legs aren’t bumping into your view. But it’s really cool because everyone starts to get to know each other.”

Photographers can be intimidating, especially in close quarters, Wells says. There’s a certain amount of judgment based on who shoots from a reserved spot and who boasts the loftiest credentials. Ultimately, though, photography is a democratic field. If your photo is good, it gets published. If it’s not, it doesn’t. In theory skill will out.

Sixteen-year-old fashion blogger Rachel Leiner certainly believes so. She runs a personal style blog with her friend in Long Island, but her passion is photography. She’s at Fashion Week to get some practice and to improve her technique.

“I’m still learning,” she freely admits. “Here everyone walks around with these huge lenses and I just have my little 50mm lens, but I think it really works for me and I get a lot of great feedback from what I do.”

The small lens matches her small frame, which is clad for the occasion in a simple black dress and chic Jeffry Campbell ankle boots. Unlike Wells and Beye, Leiner has no press pass around her neck. She won’t see a single runway this season, and that’s fine with her.

She wants to pursue photography, but doesn’t know if it will be her profession. She might want to do fashion shoots, but isn’t keen on studio settings. She represents Beye six years ago, and Wells three.

I ask who her favorite photographers are, and she answers: “I really like Richard Avedon.” She describes a famous photo of his: A black-and-white shot of a model between two elephants. Her face alive with enthusiasm, she sketches the shapes of their trunks in the air.

Perhaps she, like Avedon, will be the next to shape and define a brand. Perhaps she is the next stage of fashion photography’s evolution.

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Behind the Lens: The photographers of NYFW

There and back again: Three days in Uruguay

Well, more like a half-day, a day, and another half-day. That’s two days, for those as mathematically challenged as myself. Why spend two days in another seemingly-random South American country? Why not.

We left for the airport at 1 p.m. Buenos Aires time and, after waiting longer to board the flight than the flight actually lasted (two hours vs. 45 minutes), touched down in Uruguay around 6 p.m. Here’s a synopsis-by-category of what I observed in Montevideo, the capital city.

The landscape

Breathtaking. Beachy. Strangely reminiscent of Los Angeles (at least according to one member of our group, who kept up a rousing chorus of “I’m in Miami, bitch!” during our drive into the city). I can’t imagine the sort of tropical paradise the coastline becomes during the summer.

Sadly it was a) not summer, b) windy and c) freezing. We piled out of the van for a photo op at Plaza de la Armada — cue touristy sunset pictures.

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Plaza de la Armada, overlooking the bay. Montevideo, Uruguay. July 8, 2013.
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A view of Montevideo across the water. July 8, 2013.

The food

Sad to say, our first dinner was at a McDonalds. But It was a McDonalds in Uruguay… a unique cultural experience. Upon arrival we discovered a wonderful Montevideo-an invention: the Toblerone McFlurry. I highly suggest bringing this creation to the states. The McFlurry itself cost $75 Uruguayan pesos, since inflation there is actually ridiculous. Factor in the bright colors of each bill and we felt like players in an extended game of Monopoly.

Ice cream in Uruguay (real ice cream, not McDonalds’) is much like ice cream in Argentina, since ice cream comparison is a huge concern to the general population. The italian food is delicious. Hotel breakfast? A-plus. And that’s all I have to say about that.

The people

don’t stare as much. At least, that was the main difference noted by myself and by my two redheaded companions at said first-night McDonalds dinner. The few I actually spoke with were painfully nice. Go-out-of-their-way-to-help-you nice. Here-take-my-first-born-I-don’t-need-him nice.

The lodging

Hotel, sweet hotel. After some months in Argentinian apartments with questionable mattresses (mine is filled with a strange foam substance and has a gash down the center), a feather bed with multiple pillows and extra blankets was oh, so welcome. I know, first world pains. Get over it.

Aside from the beds, the “Four Points by Sheraton” was a lovely place — multi-storied, marble-bar’ed, with aforementioned delightful breakfast, swimming pool, sauna, and a small selection of TV channels in English. Heaven.

The media

Okay, so “why not” wasn’t the sole purpose of our trip to Uruguay. While there we toured three different media outlets: Radio Montecarlo, Canal 10 and El Pais — a radio station, TV station and newspaper, respectively.

Radio Montecarlo was my favorite. The offices were on the fourth level of a building in downtown Montevideo. They were small, wood-paneled, and in some ways right out of the 1970s. Radio Montecarlo has been around for 89 years and attracts an older audience, though its new FM station is an attempt to capture younger folks.

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An operating room at Radio Montecarlo. I asked, and the record player still works. July 9, 2013

We ended up spending too much time at the radio station and showed up late for our tour at Canal 10. Our guide, Rossana Angelone, took us through the enormous, warehouse-like building. We toured studios, sets and even the break room.

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We watched part of the filming of this show, “Con Sentidas.” Apparently it’s quite popular in Uruguay. Canal 10 studios, July 9, 2013.
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We were allowed to pose for pictures on the newscast set. Here’s two of our number hamming it up. July 9, 2013.

Then came El Pais, the largest newspaper in Uruguay. The newsroom consists of row upon row of desks atop parquet flooring, but our meeting with the paper’s director took place in an upper-level office. There the director told us his plans for social media and digital outlets and showed us physical archives of El Pais dating back to 1824 or something ridiculous like that (actual date may vary). It was wonderful and I know there’s always a paper in Uruguay to try for, should U.S. publications fail to satisfy.

The end

ImageUntil next time, Uruguay.

Literary reference for the title of this post brought to you by J.R.R. Tolkien.

There and back again: Three days in Uruguay

How to disappear completely and never be found

The title, yes, is another literary reference. The subject, surprisingly, is not.

Usually, when I feel overwhelmed, I take refuge between printed pages. The Song of Ice and Fire series is my current escape (I’m on book three, A Storm of Swords, and going strong). But Thursday morning I awoke knowing words weren’t going to cut it.

If you’ve never spent an extended amount of time in a city, let me summarize: “Beep. BEEP. Honk. Mmmmmmmm ZOOM!” “Screeeeech!” No less noisy are the people. They wander around at all hours telling so-hilarious-I’ll-laugh-like-a-bullhorn-for-ten-straight-minutes stories and shrieking across lanes.

I cracked GOT but still heard Buenos Aires in the background. To the Google! Desperate, I scrolled through the names of more green spaces in Buenos Aires. “Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays” caught my eye — a 9-minute bus ride. The book was tossed unceremoniously into a tote and I was gone.

It was a good choice. Walking through the gate of Carlos Thays, the city melted into oblivion behind me. Traffic and voices faded and I was left with green. And cats. Lots of cats.

I sat on a bench in the sun and the nearest one climbed into my lap, purring. He made himself at home while I scratched his ears. We are friends to this day.

In all seriousness, this Jardín Botánico was a gorgeous and much-needed escape. It opened its leafy, green arms to me as it does, I’m sure, for so many city-sick porteños.

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Random children’s library that looks like a castle. Thursday June 20, 2013.
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Greenhouse. I’ve been obsessed with these since reading “The Night Strangers” by Chris Bohjalian. Thursday June 20, 2013.
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Fairyland. Thursday June 20, 2013.
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My friend, on the bench we shared. Ah, memories. Thursday June 20, 2013.

 

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There were about 87 of these gazing pools, all lovely. Thursday June 20, 2013.

 

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More of Fairyland. Thursday June 20, 2013.
How to disappear completely and never be found

Sunday in the parks of Recoleta

The rush of traffic. The smoke snaking up from dead cigarettes in the gutter. Car horns. Grimy fingernails. Traffic. People who refuse to wear deodorant (this happens in Argentina more than you’d like to think).

Sometimes the city is overwhelming. Sometimes I miss the green parts — they have a lot of those in Texas. That’s where parks come in.

Somewhere along the line a brilliant person decided to save a few city blocks from the same covered-in-concrete fate as their neighbors. These blocks, where grass and trees and such are apt to grow, make a welcome escape.

Last Sunday I needed to get off the streets for a bit, and my trusty combat boots and I ended up wandering Recoleta, from one green area to the next.

First up was the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Inside was a selection of paintings from all eras, as well as a lovely exhibit on Fernando Botero occupying the second floor. Outside was green and glorious.

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Across the street wasn’t too shabby, either.

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A few blocks down Guido (which I learned is pronounced “gee-dough” and not like a Jersey Shore character) and a turn onto Vicente Lopez meant I stumbled upon a street fair that I definitely wasn’t looking for, but didn’t mind finding.

Cutsey crafts-for-sale abounded, including woven winter accessories, leather goods, handmade jewelry and popcorn-covered candied apples. I thought about springing for the latter, decided against it, and instead strolled from booth to booth while various vendors smiled at me in that I-know-you’re-not-from-around-here way they have.

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Oh yeah, and there were tango dancers, because Argentina.

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Right next to the fair is the Cementerio de la Recoleta, where people like Evita (Eva Perón) are buried. It’s enormous, architecturally beautiful, in some parts deserted, and infested with friendly cats. Needless to say, I loved it.

I’ll spare you the 4721 cat pictures (I did make friends with three and acquaintances with one), but the tombs and obelisks are must-sees. There are rows upon rows of tombs that line miniature tile “streets” to make up a giant, walled necropolis.

I’ve found my reading spot for the next two months. That’s normal, right? Reading Game of Thrones alone in a cemetery?

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There you have it. Here’s to cemetery cats, perfect Sundays and green spaces tucked away in concrete jungles.

Sunday in the parks of Recoleta

¿Qué es un porteño, anyway?

Porteño/a – (noun) – Someone native to Buenos Aires.

Why porteño? Because of the port, or puerta, a.k.a. the reason for the the city’s existence in the first place. Buenos Aires sits on the Rio de la Plata, and was founded as a port city. It has grown outwards, sprawling over miles and into 48 separate barrios, or neighborhoods.

And I have to know them all. (Cue Pokemon theme song.)

But seriously. As a periodista, how am I supposed to cover neighborhoods I can barely navigate? We’ve gotten lost at least eight times, seriously lost about twice, and my feet are feeling it. Combat boots are cute, but not the most supportive.

Aside from finding our way around, these first few days living in Recoleta have been a blur… so much to do!

In case you’re thinking of living for a bit in another country, consider: the communication (an Argentinian cell phone was in order), transportation (a re-loadable card for the subte and busses), digestion (grocery shopping), navigation (a Guía T, the bible of all street maps) and transaction (bank visits, por supuesto).

Today started with a city tour, half bus, half on foot. Thank. goodness. for. the bus. I learned that Argentina, despite confusing street signs and unhelpful directions, is actually beautiful. Here’s proof:

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Apparently this cemetery is full of cats… I’m planning on spending a lot of time there to find out, since I’m a Future Cat Lady of America and all. It’s right next to my street, Vicente Lopez. Apparently Evita (Eva Perón) is buried there, so that’s cool too I guess.

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This is Puerto Madero, taken from right outside MU’s Study Abroad office in Buenos Aires. It’s one of the prettier and pricier barrios in the city.

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The Pink House, or Casa Rosada, is the equivalent of our White House — the President of Argentina works from here (though she doesn’t actually live in it). Why pink? There was some gruesome story about red and white warring factions, and also about mixing red cow’s blood with some white substance to make pink… whatever the reason I think we should consider making the switch.

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The front altar of the Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires, a.k.a. where the new Pope does his Roman-Catholic thing. It’s a beautiful cathedral and houses the tomb of José de San Martín, which we sight-saw quite thoroughly.

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The ever-so-slightly instagram’ed picture of La Boca, a barrio with heavy Italian influence. There was a stray cat here too, just saying.

We were walking through this neighborhood when some men started yelling from the side of the street: Hey Barbie! Come back! Barbie! Over here Barbie! It wasn’t until we’d outdistanced them that I realized they were talking to me… since then I’ve been counting the natural blondes I see around the city. Grand total is up to four.

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My artsy picture of the Plaza de Mayo, complete with pigeon in flight. This is right outside the Pink House. There’s a festival on May 25 in the plaza, and we’re 150% hitting it up, so stay tuned.

More interminglings with the porteños are sure to come.

¿Qué es un porteño, anyway?

Zen for reporters

Sometimes reporting is a daily grind. Recently I’ve found myself grinding to a halt. The culprit? Mononucleosis.

This nasty little disease has turned my eyeballs a tasty shade of yellow (it brings the sources flocking, let me tell you), swollen my liver to twice its normal size and bullied my body into needing about 12 hours of sleep per day. Fat chance.

As rough as the past few weeks have been, I’ve managed to find solace in an unlikely place: a reporting assignment.

It’s still very much in the works, but the assignment is part of a Vox multimedia project tentatively called “Having Faith.” For the project, each reporter will highlight a member of Columbia’s community who’s experienced a spiritual journey. We’re really branching out here, writing about everything from Judaism and Christianity to Islam and Baha’i. Some stories don’t involve faith at all but cover broad topics like “forgiveness.”

I’m learning everything I can about Ken McRae, a local yoga teacher with an interesting background. Ken graduated in Canada and was living in Toronto, a successful computer consultant with a wife, two kids, a dog, a half-million dollar house and opera tickets. But he felt that something was missing.

He attended his first yoga class shortly before Christmas of 1988 and found the fulfillment he’d been searching for. Eventually Ken and his wife sold everything they owned and moved to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass. Ken trained there as a monk for 5 years, traveled the world for several more (India, Bali and Italy) and somehow ended up in Columbia teaching at alleyCat Yoga.

Ken’s story fascinated me. I couldn’t help but wonder what, what would compel someone to throw in the towel, to ditch all signs of material success and devote himself to yoga as a spiritual practice? Let the reporting begin.

I’m learning more about Ken every time we meet, but I’m also learning more about yoga. The studio at alleyCat is one of the most calming places I’ve ever been. So is Ken’s house, which I visited last Wednesday. Yoga’s energy permeates both spaces. You can feel it.

A key principle of yoga, says Ken, is letting go of stress by accepting life as it comes. You can’t change how things show up, but you can change your attitude about them.

Ken’s words hit home. The stress of reporting is sometimes more than I’d like to admit, but Mono on top of everything… it’s been rough. Here’s the takeaway: I can’t change the fact that I’m sick, but I can accept what life has handed me and try to work around it as best I can.

That, ladies and gents, is as zen as it’s going to get.

Bonus if you got the reference in the title of this post! It’s “Zen for Head” by Nam June Paik, an artist active with the Fluxus movement of the 1960s. Three cheers for Art History class!

Ken McRae lights a votive on the altar in his alleyCat studio Thursday, March 21. Photo by me.
Ken McRae lights a votive on the altar in his alleyCat studio Thursday, March 21.
The studio at alleyCat just before Ken's 5:30 class on Thursday evening. A more peaceful place I cannot imagine.
The studio at alleyCat just before Ken’s 5:30 p.m. class on Thursday, March 21. A more peaceful place I cannot imagine. Photo by me.
Zen for reporters

True/False Festing

Notebook? Check. Pen? Check. Combat boots? Check. Ironic sweater/skirt combination? Check.

Disguised as a hipster, I set out Saturday morning armed and ready to cover the True/False festival. My assignment: the “Speculative Stroll,” which departed from the True/False box office at 11:45 a.m.

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Having done my research, I now knew what to expect. Timothy “Speed” Levitch was to lead the tour. He’s from New York, so he had to be excellent. His touring sidekick, Gabe Williams, was a Columbia native and, as Levitch put it, a landmark with a heartbeat.

I’d never been to the True/False box office and was enchanted the minute I stepped inside. Cotton ball clouds hung from the ceiling, giant bird’s nests adorned with twinkle lights sat in two corners of the room. The art on the walls consisted of True/False posters from past years. I was in love.

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Inside the True/False box office at Hitt and Broadway. Photo by me.

Around 11:30 a cluster of people formed in the front of the office… so many beards. So many coats, hats and scarves. So much plaid, so much quirk. Really, I love the True/False-ians. They are my people.

The tour itself was delightful; for a full account, read my blog post here. I even snapped some iPhone pictures (of dubious quality…) that ended up in the post itself, so that’s pretty neat.

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“Speed” Levitch (furry hat, right) and Gabe Williams (sunglasses, left) entertain the crowd in Alley A during Saturday morning’s “Speculative Stroll.” Photo by me.

Overall, live coverage was a much less stressful experience than I was expecting. The casual, laid back, “anything goes” attitudes of the editors on duty contributed to my (unusual) sense of calm. Cue large sigh of relief.

Today marks the 10th annual True/False Film Festival’s last hurrah. In the Vox office I’m picturing champagne corks popping, backs being patted, cheers and hollering – a fitting end to a long weekend of coverage.

True/False Festing

Picture, picture of the year, you’ve won

“Alright everyone, saddle up!”

The judges have returned from their coffee break. Chairs scrape, voices fall from chatter to murmurs to silence. The lights go off, the projector turns on, the cycle begins again.

In an upstairs room of the Reynolds Journalism Institute four photography giants sit in a row to judge the ‘Feature’ division of the 70th annual Picture of the Year International competition.

Emilio Morenatti, the Associated Press’ chief photographer in Spain and Portugal, Judy Walgren, Director of Photography at the San Fransisco Chronicle, Bill Luster, formerly of The Courier – Journal and Walt Stricklin, former Director of Photography at The Birmingham News sit in wheeled chairs in the front of the room. Behind them is a skinny table supporting 4 cups of coffee, each cup directly behind one of the chairs. The cups are venti-sized at least. No one here is joking around.

Since 1944 the competition has grown from 50 submissions to “tens of thousands,” according to the POYi website. Today the judges went through roughly 600 photos from the time I walked in (around noon) until they left this evening (trust me, I was long gone by then). Yes, they need that coffee.

More fascinating than the caffeine, though, was the actual judging process. Here’s what went down:

  • A picture flashed onto the screen.
  • There was a series of electronic clicking noises, presumably from hand-held devices operated by the judges. This would take anywhere from 3 to 30 seconds, depending on the image. Some decisions were easy, others seemed more difficult.
  • According to who clicked which button, a (creepy) computerized voice uttered either a loud “IN” or an “OUT.”
  • The next image appeared.

Things progressed pretty steadily during the 20 minutes I sat in the back of the room. The stream of images was controlled by two guys sitting at enormous desktops behind the coffee table behind the judges. Occasionally they’d say “hold on one moment” because they had to switch reels or something. Besides that and the constant “IN”s and “OUT”s of our electronic overlord, the room was silent.

What really threw me was the judging process (or, to my untrained eyes, lack thereof). The “OUT”s were announced after 20 seconds at most. “IN”s were rarer and usually happened after a longer pause. I jerked my head up at every “IN,” scrambling to write down what might make the photo “IN”-worthy before it disappeared. I’m sure I got everything wrong.

I feel I shouldn’t describe the “IN”s at present, seeing as the ‘Feature’ winner won’t be announced until the judging is complete. Instead, here is last year’s winner from the same category.

The judging was an interesting experience, to say the least. Though now more than ever I’m sure I’ll never have the credentials to be a photographer, I will always admire the artistry of those who do.

(Side note: In case you were wondering the title of this post is a reference to the song “Human of the Year” by Regina Spektor. If you already knew that we should be friends.)

Picture, picture of the year, you’ve won

Dance Marathon warms up Speaker’s Circle

Students walking through Speaker’s Circle Tuesday morning were in for a treat: free hot chocolate and a spontaneous dance party.

Dance Marathon, a philanthropy that fundraiser for the MU Children’s Hospital, distributed hot chocolate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They also set up a chalkboard for dancers to write why they participate.

Jessica Miller, an MU student and education major, wrote “because of my future classroom.” She was enthusiastic about the morning’s event.

“We’re raising awareness for Dance Marathon and getting people to sign up,” she said. “We’re recruiting some awesome dancers”

Miller credits the event’s success to the group’s energy.

“We’re dancing a lot and I think people are being drawn in and wanting to do this awesome thing.”

For more information on Dance Marathon visit dancemarathon.missouri.edu.

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Maggie Rotts, Lauren Sines and Tucker Moore hand out free hot chocolate on behalf of Dance Marathon in Speaker’s Circle on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012.
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Jess Miller signs the chalkboard in Speaker’s Circle on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012.
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Jess Miller, an education major at MU, poses next to her inscription on the chalkboard in Speaker’s Circle on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012.
Dance Marathon warms up Speaker’s Circle

Instagram’d up close and personal

Any savvy iPhone user is familiar with the instagram application, which allows for insta-photosharing with perks like filters, tags, borders and crops.

Hipsters have long used the app to snap ironic pics of their lattes or face-half-out-of-the-frame photos of vintage specs and angsty haircuts. However, the growing popularity of instagram (catapulted to web fame after a buzzy facebook purchase) has turned it into yet another journalistic resource. Hooray!

Take, for example, the instagram feed of NPR’s Ari Shapiro who is currently on the Romney campaign trail, tailing the presidential candidate as he traverses the country.

Shapiro frequently posts about his progress on instagram. He narrates the campaign with an insider’s perspective via pictures of airports, planes, tarmacs, campaign rallies and various hotels and restaurants.

One of my favorite of Shapiro’s shots is of Romney “taking Qs from the press on the tarmac in Miami.” The angle of Shapiro’s close-up not only offers insight into the daily life of a candidate and/or a reporter on the campaign trail, it also allows the viewer to closely inspect the state of Romney’s nose hair. Looking trim, Mitt.

Another of my favorites is this shot of Shapiro and Anne Romney as she hands out welch cakes on a flight. The giant video camera in the frame is a snippet of campaign life that isn’t normally glimpsed by the ‘common man.’

Plenty of other reporters, bloggers and brands use instagram to their advantage. (One of my favorite feeds is Nylon Magazine’s, which offers exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at shoots and events.)

Instagram’s metamorphosis from underground applet to photo-sharing staple is just another example of the vital role social media plays for news media outlets.

Instagram’d up close and personal