One of the most important aspects of Photojournalism that sets it apart from other applications of the language of photography is the sense of public service that is integral to it.
Our students are exposed to this early in the program, and the all important understanding that the discipline demands “It is not all about me” To bear witness and tell stories about the world around you demands that you understand this. We will ask that you be subject and content driven. We will ask that you say something with your pictures. We will ask you to find in you a sense of purpose that connects you to the world around you, and in return, connect it through you, to the viewer. Finding this sense of purpose will fuel the fires of learning this craft that you have chosen. There is not a better way to spend your life than being the visual record keeper of your time.
While we are training you to be paid professionals, we also encourage you to get involved and volunteer for worthy causes. One of the more recent traditions here is the Photojournalism Program’s association with Alexis Shinewald and the Child Life Services Department at the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto. This summer, some of our students, faculty and spouses continued this tradition, photographing events at a club night for teenage patients at Sick Kids. The night is designed to give both inpatients and outpatients a chance to have a prom night that they might otherwise have missed at school in a familiar atmosphere. Volunteers include hair stylists and makeup artists, dj’s set designers and photographers, which is where we come in! This year, PJ students Shannon Storey and Michelle Siu shot candid photographs throughout the evening while Clover Raftis manned the portrait area, shooting portraits of individuals and groups attending the event. At evening’s end, each guest received a print of themselves or their group to remember the evening by. Hundreds of candid photos shot by the team were edited and burned to a DVD to be mailed out to each guest.
An evening at Sick Kids reminds us all how lucky we are, regardless of our situation in life. It is always a great life experience when you can share and learn at the same time.