YOUR STORY

By ERIN CALABRESE and JENNIFER FERMINO New York Post THEIR PROUDEST NIGHT: Harlem residents watch the historic election results last night on a big-screen TV outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. Last updated: 8:32 am November 5, 2008 Posted: 5:43 am November 5, 2008 It was the biggest spontaneous celebration to hit Harlem since Joe Louis beat Max Schmeling in 1938. Tens of thousands took to the storied streets of black America's spiritual capital last night - dancing on cars, beating on drums and waving the red, white and blue - to celebrate the whirlwind victory of Barack Obama. Young and old, black and white, they crowded along streets named after long-gone heroes to the cause of equality, horns blaring, chanting in unison "Yes we can!" "They said the revolution would not be televised, they were wrong!" said Clifford Stokes, 48. "When I came up in the '60s, this is what we wished for. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, our heroes were slaughtered. To see this in my life - that's what up!" he crowed. Even amid the raucous celebrations, the spirit of those who fought for but never lived to see the dream come true were not forgotten. "So many people gave so much. It's a shame that Dr. King didn't see this," said Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference. Video: Obama's Victory Speech "I spoke to Myrlie Evers [widow of slain activist Medgar Evers] and we were remembering so many people that lost their lives." Dukes, who in the '60s attended Evers' funeral and the March on Washington with Martin Luther King, said that even during the darkest days of the civil-rights movement, she kept the faith in this country. "I love America. Tonight, as an African-American, America made me feel even prouder," she said. "The pride I have is just overwhelming. I've been crying most of the evening to think I would live to see this." She said the streets of Harlem, where she lived, were filled with people of all ages. "What you see is
Access really is everything, and it helps maximize your shooting possibilities and strengthen the work.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a personal project, think about taking on a smallerone for a start. A short-term photo essay can be a visual profile of an idea, a person, an event, or a business; a “day in the life” of an artisan, musician, community leader, or heroine; or a portrait series of a certain group of people. It can be still lifes, landscapes, or other groups of images with a common thread that ties them together.

You can come in with a clear point of view or idea for documenting the subject by focusing on one aspect or one person, which usually leads to clearer coverage of that issue. Keep it simple; less is more. It can be presented chronologically or thematically, but the images need to work together. Look for subjects and environments that you’re going to enjoy and have fun with.

Access really is everything, and it helps maximize your shooting possibilities and strengthen the work. It’s best to choose a subject that allows unfettered access. Maybe it’s a 24-hour laundromat or diner, a street corner, a nature conservatory, a bus, subway, or train line. If there’s an event that’s coming up, you can target that for your photo essay.

I began my coverage of political conventions in 2004, and I schedule the time to cover them over a few days every four years. I continue the coverage to this day. As a supplement to this work, on election night in 2008, I went to Harlem to do a short essay on the faces in the crowd that historic evening.

Stories that have a resolution you can document—a pregnancy, sports stories, a political convention, events that begin and end—let you concentrate your time and  energy. There are no rules. 

I’ve seen great essays where images were all taken from the window, with a photographer riding on one bus line all day. It’s really up to you. Think personal.

Also, consider taking on small projects alongside more comprehensive ones. When I start a project, I often find that many of the images—though they’re all quite different—end up communicating the same or a similar idea and are not moving the body of work forward. This is not to say that every image needs to be uniquely different from the other; in fact, some projects use repetition as a way to build momentum.

Finding ways to illustrate or document your idea in a storytelling way is one of many challenges you’ll face that will help you break through to your next level of your work.

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