“The first thing I learned is how important intimacy with your subject is when making a photo story,” Wittman said. “If you distance yourself from your subject, you won’t produce the same kind of work; intimacy is key. I also learned the importance of establishing the scene. If you don’t give your viewers a sense of place, they won’t be able to fully understand your story.”
Wittman, a junior from Novi, Mich., and 10 other students participated in a three-day workshop from Oct. 5 to 7 led by Frazier. Students shot pictures for photo stories they were working on, and Frazier, who was on campus as a Hearst Visiting Professional, helped them edit and critiqued their work. A slideshow presentation of their work was presented to faculty and students.
“At other workshops I’ve seen notable journalists speak, but I haven’t had the chance to actually work with them,” Wittman said. “It was a really unique and rewarding experience.”
Frazier, whose work has been featured in
People, said the workshop is a great way to interact with students and give them feedback as they’re working.
“The workshop is how you real-time teach someone to be a storyteller,” he said.
Frazier said as photographers, students are always going to have someone putting up roadblocks before them.
“Those who learn to get access will come up with photography that is memorable,” he said.
Trisha Umpfenbach, a junior from St. Clair Shores, Mich., said Frazier was extremely passionate and takes his work very seriously.
“It was good to get feedback in the editing process,” she said. “He would choose photos I would never think of. He had a totally different eye than any of us.”
Frazier said he enjoyed the intensity of the workshop, and also the intensity the students showed. The participants worked long hours Saturday and Sunday, starting early and ending in the early morning hours.
“I want them to know anything is possible if they continue to push themselves,” Frazier said.
Journalism professor Teresa Hernandez said Frazier showed students there are no boundaries and how to find a connection with what they’re working on.
“It was really good for our students to see these stories are really about us, and what we care about,” she said.
Photojournalism professor Kent Miller said he enjoyed seeing his students interact with Frazier and grow as photojournalists.
“They all have a stronger capability of shooting real, meaningful photographs that they shoot more from their hearts than their cameras,” Miller said. “It is a great launching pad for their careers.”
Frazier said visual communication has never been more important, and we need to make sure the next generation is tolerant and compassionate about what they do.
“It is an amazing way to learn about the world around us; to learn about people we would never interact with,” he said.