Montclair State University’s one and only photojournalism course held its fourth annual photo exhibition to showcase students’ work from the fall 2021 semester.
The event was exciting for students and professors alike as last year’s class was unable to hold an exhibition due to restrictions brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The exhibition allowed students to gather with their friends, family and professors to share the highlights of their portfolios this semester. There was food, music and a slideshow including all of the students’ best pictures. The student lounge in Morehead Hall is now covered with a multitude of canvas prints, all of which are photographs made by the photojournalism students.
One of these students is Amanda Brown, a senior communication studies major. She is super thankful for the photojournalism class as well as its instructor, Professor Thomas Franklin.
“I’ve kind [of] waited all my life [to take a class like this]. So, this class meant so much to me,” Brown said. “[Franklin’s] a very hands-on professor; he will email you, reach out to you, he’ll help you [and] he’ll teach you how to improve. That is how I am the photographer I am today.”
Brown’s featured picture in the exhibition is her submission for the album cover assignment. The students were challenged with finding a real musician. Brown went above and beyond to photograph Benjamin Lapidus, a Grammy-nominated artist.
To kick off the event, Franklin addressed attendees and praised the students for their hard work, especially now, in the midst of a global pandemic and social unrest.
He is thrilled that the exhibition could be held again and believes that the students of this semester utilized the class exactly as they should, a tool in exploration and creativity.
“Photojournalism is the marriage of the artistry of picture taking with the journalistic storytelling,” Franklin said. “This is a class where students can explore that creative side and we saw that demonstrated really well by the photos you see on the wall.”
Michelle Coneo, a junior journalism major, says the class has not only helped her improve photography but has also helped her find confidence in her journalism skills and practices.
“Going out there, getting uncomfortable and [asking people if I can photograph them], I feel like it helped me get a sense of what the real world is going to be like when I go out there and become a photojournalist or journalist,” Coneo said. “It’s just a good sense of reality.”
Coneo’s printed image is a portrait of her niece. She submitted it for the scavenger hunt assignment when she noticed the drama and beauty of the light in her bedroom.
Octavia Lee is a sophomore journalism and digital media major. She was very nervous to take this class, especially for the sports photography assignment. But, she surprised herself and got some great shots with one even being her canvas print.
“When it comes to photography, I’m still new at it,” Lee said. “So, when I’m thinking about sports, I know it’s about movement, [catching the peak moment, getting a good reaction and good action]. So, it was really intense for me and I was so happy about getting that picture.”
The photos from the photojournalism exhibition will be featured in the student lounge of Morehead Hall for the rest of the academic year.