Four Emmys glistened on the windowsill and a larger-than-life portrait of Jack Nicholson hung in the space that is MediaStorm as we made our way into a conference room with Brian Storm, the founder and executive producer of MediaStorm. One of the things that surprised me the most was that they are a company of around ten people and have never done any marketing or advertising; it’s all driven by word of mouth. The explanation for this is the quality of their work and they stress the importance of being worth someone’s time. One’s relationship with the audience is one of the most important things, and yet it is often overlooked. It’s important to know whom your work is reaching. Storm proceeded to show us trailers for some of the productions that his team made and asked, “Are you interested? Would you pay for it?” I was interested in every video and I honestly believe I would pay to watch the pieces if I was able to do so with my friends; I just know that I would want to talk about the stories with someone after I watched them.
“When you tell me that people aren’t apathetic, you’re wrong. Storytelling moves people,” said Storm.
The quality of work that I saw was incredible and it’s a model of what one can achieve with the right amount of work, passion, and dedication. However, it is impossible to reach this level by yourself. I know that I need to collaborate with others and am interested in learning how to do so successfully. I need to figure out what my strengths are and find someone who balances my weaknesses.
“This is the best time to take a risk. You’re as free as you can be. Take a big risk,” said Storm.
The New York Times
It was a mad dash to The New York Times (NYT) from Brooklyn, but we made it with only a few seconds to spare. We met Senior Staff Photographer and Lens Blog Editor James Estrin. He described this time as the "Golden Era" for photography because there’s the opportunity to create things yourself; you’re only limited by the size of your ideas. His advice began by stating that we shouldn’t start our careers compromising. It’s work ethic and hunger that separates the good people and the great people.
“The more you shoot, the better you’ll be. It’s a direct relation. It’s almost mathematical,” said Estrin.
We were introduced to NYT Visual Journalist Leslye Davis and it was really refreshing to meet someone who, only two years ago, was where we are now. Professor Snyder mentioned Davis in our class before the trip as someone with a lot of drive. She described the importance of setting goals and having them in a place that we’ll see often as a reminder. While we may have some long-term goals in mind, it’s very important to have smaller milestones in mind as well, because the little things can amount to the big things. “If you feel like you don’t want to do something, jump out of your seat and do it,” said Davis. I found this very relatable and have sometimes found myself in a rut where I’m not up to shooting something. However, once I’m out there, I’m enjoying myself thoroughly and all prior feelings of hesitation are gone.
Estrin ended with, “Go forth and conquer!”
Overlooking Times Square on the 22nd floor of the news agency Reuters, we met Adrees Latif (Editor in Charge of U.S. Pictures at Reuters), Darren Ornitz (Freelance Photographer at Reuters), Lucas Jackson (Staff Photographer at Reuters), Steven Mayes (Executive Director at Tim Hetherington Trust), Frank Fournier (French Photographer), Mitch Koppelman (Vice President of Broadcast Services at Reuters), and Alan Chin (Photographer at Facing Change).
Latif gave us a personal account of his work in Pakistan by sharing his raw take, something that we rarely see from professionals. With a raw take, one is exposed to flaws, but it’s very eye-opening to see how someone works and to see that they too can make mistakes.
Ornitz shared his experience at the Eddie Adams Workshop and shooting the Naked Cowboy for Latif. He stressed the importance of seeking out opportunities.
Jackson recommended that we keep exposing ourselves to work of other photographers and told us that our portfolios show how much we work.
Mayes presented some of Time Hetherington’s work. After describing "Sleeping Soldiers" as a meditation, Mayes made it clear that the thing that drives war isn’t the hardware, but rather the software, the men. “Tim looked at the world in a completely different way. He went to war and photographed people sleeping. That’s crazy,” said Mayes.
Fournier joined us in conversation and asked something that I had never thought about before, “What do you want your obituary to say?” This demonstrated that we are alive for a limited amount of time and I think the best thing I can do is to live fully and do photography for the right and important reasons.
It was great to hear that Koppelman was once the photo editor of RIT's Reporter and we talked briefly about how the magazine has changed over the years.
Chin showed us personal work of when he returned to his ancestral roots in China. He told us about his approach, and I found his advice really helpful in thinking about how I would document my family in Lithuania this summer for my Senior Capstone Project.
Instagram Guesting Posting