The White House
The first stop for the day was The White House. To my surprise, because I am not a U.S. citizen, I wore a different colored pass and had to wait for an escort. Thankfully, my class was very patient and Maureen waited with me until Jim Preston, the Deputy Director of the Photo Office, came to my rescue. Inside the office hung photos of the president, which we were told were swapped from time-to-time, and we were told by Janet Philips, who has been the photo archivist since the Reagan administration, how the countless photos of the president are organized, many using recognizable and sometimes funny keywords. Before leaving the office with presidential Hersey Kisses, we met with the Multimedia team, which was also very small, consisting of four people. They stressed the importance of working together and having the ability to collaborate with others.
U.S. News & World Report
Avi Gupta, the director of photography at the magazine, was very specific when he expressed what he looks for in a photographer: work ethic, reliability, personal touch, personal stories, and the ability to stay in touch. He receives 30-40 emails a day with a photographer’s website and explained that the best way to connect with someone is meeting and talking with them in person. “I think it’s part of my responsibility to look for work,” said Gupta, who mentioned that he is always looking for new photographers to work with. I think he surprised my classmates and me when he said that the location of the photographer is rarely on the website. We have been told several times in class to not limit our location and where we can work, but it also makes sense to make sure others are aware of where you are.
Molly Roberts, the Chief Photography Editor, welcomed us to Smithsonian Magazine, and I believe it was the first time a class from RIT has visited. Something that really surprised me was the interest everyone has had in our Capstone Projects and Roberts asked us to go around the room and quickly pitch our stories. “Your ideas are your currency… Have ideas that no one else has,” said Roberts. In addition to having ideas, one must also have access. It’s one thing to say you want to work on something, but being to actually do it is even more important. She mentioned the importance of having mentors and how WPOW has a great mentorship program. We were given a tour of the office and hung on the wall was the layout for one of their magazines; this was something that we also saw at Sports Illustrated last year. The discussion turned to the future and it seems as though there is always going to be new material, but the medium is uncertain.