Dispatch from Austin: Day Four

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November 1, 2009

10:49 PM

_Click here, here and here to read previous posts from Austin._

As Jessica’s previous post mentioned, Austin is a vibrant and intriguing city not to be missed. The convention planners took advantage of our eccentric setting with the on-site photo competition, entitled “Austin Shoot-Out.”

Although I attended a few sessions, such as how to build, retain and manage a photography staff, I tired of photographers being the butt of many journalism jokes and spent most of my time pounding the pavement looking for that perfect shot.

I walked up and down Congress Street finally heading down to the South Congress District (or SoCo as it was called on my flimsy hotel map). Filled with vintage boutiques and cool cafés it seemed like the perfect place for a photo op. These images are a sample of what I saw.

I shot the last image at a pet adoption drive I stumbled upon which was being held by Austin Pets Alive, a local non-profit that rescues dogs on the euthanasia lists of city shelters around the area. Since it depicted my new buddy Lamar, it was hands down my favorite photograph. I also decided to choose it as my competition submission, since I thought it showed the altruistic spirit of the city.

The shoot-out ended on Saturday afternoon, then each submission was put on a large projector screen and subjected to critique by three professional panelists and the 63 other students photographers in the room. Needless to say, harsh things were said, and my photograph didn’t even crack the finals.

However, I learned so much from the professionals and my fellow student photographers. One important piece of wisdom I learned and have taken with me back to Williamsburg is that photojournalism is about people. Despite the simplicity of the statement, I’ve taken it to heart. Now that I’m back in the ’burg, I’m going to focus my lens on the people that matter to The Flat Hat, the students of the College of William and Mary.

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