Photo Editor’s note: The Daily Texan is heading into a new frontier with Enterprise, which, in a nutshell, takes a small group from the Texan and dedicates them to more in-depth special projects focusing on contemporary issues affecting the UT and Austin community. We’re still working out the kinks. For us in the photo department, the first foray proved to be a touch more complicated than we would have liked. A little bit of miscommunication, a little bit of idealism, a touch of rain, all part of the learning process at a student newspaper. I mentioned we are working out the kinks. Mishaps aside, the process of coming into a new visual understanding is always a rewarding one. Impressed by his ability to string together a number of strong portraits in a short period of time last week, I assigned senior photographer Zachary Strain to photograph Joshua Tran, one of the sources for reporter Andrew Messamore’s story on the economic circumstances surrounding housing in West Campus. Tran was easy to photograph, comfortable in front of the camera, casual and calm. Zach had a few ideas for portraits so I let him go free and sat on the couch, assuming my editor position in a newfound way : being there to “edit” on site. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and efficient process, especially when it came to the close-up of Tran. Zach would take some shots, ask me if they would work, I would suggest an few things, and he would continue. We must have gone through 5 or so sets of close-up photos before we came to a consensus. “The pursuit of perfection!” we joked, knowing full well the unattainable nature of such a thing, especially with anything visual.
“Frame the shot a little lower”
“Make sure the lights aren’t in the background”
“Focus on the nose, not the eyes”
“Have him relax his face”
For the last take, I told Zach that it was up to him to decide whether he got the photo or not, a good move because he produced it immediately. I thought it would be a visual treat to see my view from the couch and the photo that Zach produced. Oh, and the one he did outside, one that falls into what could become a category with him, the casual in-between portrait.
Here’s to hoping the kinks get de-kinked in the near future.
I love this job.
- Lawrence Peart