Putting your personality on paper: our new profile contest

Can I interview my subject on Zoom, via email or text, or does it have to be live?

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the fact that we cannot predict what will be safe and logistically achievable for all students, we will allow virtual interviews if this is your best or your only choice. However, we do want to encourage you to interview and photograph your subjects live whenever possible. The conversation will be better and you will be able to understand your topic better thanks to the person’s body language and their interactions with their environment.

And while it’s okay to follow up with an email or text interview to clarify details, you can’t “interview” your topic by just emailing questions. For this project, you must have an oral conversation with your topic, in person or virtually. (If you need to take photos through a screen, this article describes how some professionals did it.)

I have already written biographies of famous people in school. Is it the same thing?

An excellent question from a class in Pennsylvania. In short, no. A biography sums up a lifetime, while a short profile focuses on one angle. For example, the Q&A with Kristina Wong doesn’t go into her full performance history, but instead focuses on how a mask-making project during the pandemic led her to create a new one. solo show.

Finding that angle is part of the challenge. We’ll post a few resources to help you out, and we’ll link them here when we do.

How do I change my interview? How much can I change what the other person says?

You can’t change what the other person says by putting words in the person’s mouth, but you can Lightly condense the respondent’s responses so that they read well and focus on your chosen angle, while staying true to the original conversation. We’ll show you how to do this in an upcoming lesson plan.

For now, plan to both record your interviews and take notes as you listen so you can work from a full recording of the conversation when it’s time to edit it.

I have never taken a photography course. How to make a good portrait?

Just as we don’t expect attendees to be experienced journalists, neither do we expect you to have any particular expertise in photography. We’ll be posting a lesson on how to take great portraits, but, for now, just focus on the comfort of your subject and take a variety of photos that experiment with lighting, angles, background, accessories, location and composition.

About Debra D. Johnson

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