Scott Strazzante showed students that visual variety is the key to successfully
telling a story with images.
students during a visit to CMU that a photograph needs various elements that
people can look at. He said to pay attention to composition, lighting, a moment
to create it like a piece of music with high notes and low notes,” Strazzante
Strazzante works for the Chicago Tribune and
visited campus as part of the Hearst Visiting Professionals program.
wasn’t where his education started out, though. He was studying business so he
could take over his father’s tire company. In his junior year of college, he
saw the work of Chicago Tribune
photographer Paul Gero, and that show inspired him to pursue photography.
self-taught,” Strazzante said. “I would study others’ work. I would study where
my eye would go.”
started out, he said he was deathly afraid of people and rejection. He said he
would shoot photos from behind trees to avoid having to talk anyone.
a shy, timid person,” Strazzante said. “But, I think you can use that to your
students to shoot from different angles, especially down low, because that
makes people feel less intimidated. He also urged them to interact with their
two-way street,” Strazzante said. “People think their lives are boring. Just
ask to spend time with them.”
explained how people think they need to stage moments when he is there to
you have to work through their need to show off for you,” Strazzante said.
“Then they will become more natural.”
One of the
stories he shared with students was one he started working on 19 years ago. He
followed Jean and Harlow Cagwin and captured life on their farm. After the
Cagwins’ home was demolished and the farm gave way to a subdivision, Strazzante
continued to follow the story. He began covering another couple, Amanda and Ed
Grabenhofer, who lived in the subdivision, and he started to find similarities
in the two sets of images.
almost like editing a story with a Rubik’s Cube,” he said.
ended up being featured in National
Geographic. He created a video, and he also is working on a book.
told students it doesn’t really matter if you use the best camera or an iPhone
to shoot your photographs.
is just a tool,” he said. “It is how you see the world that is what makes you
photography is great because you can go out, take
pictures, and keep taking them over and over again. He said it’s not like brain
surgery where you have to get it right the first time.
afraid to make mistakes,” Strazzante said.