Reflection: Art in space

Today we were given a little break from workshops and we took the opportunity to walk around East Lansing. I decided to spend my afternoon at the MSU Art Museum checking out ‘A brief history of art in space’ exhibition. The collection of photos chosen for this exhibition show some of the objects humans have sent into space in the hopes of these representations of humankind reaching other forms of life outside our planet. In 1977, a group of scientists created the Golden Record: a copper disc containing music, images and natural sounds from earth and sent it out to travel through the galaxy on Voyager 1 and 2 probes. More recently, in 2012, artist Trevor Panglen chose a series of photographs that depict earth and our species and stored the images in an ultra archival disc that is supposed to last billions of years while orbiting the earth attached to a satellite.

Reflection: What could artificial intelligence do with FOIA?

If FOIA requests can be submitted by any US citizen, foreign person or “even a dog,” as journalist M.L. Elrick jokes about, what kind of questions could an artificial intelligence system ask? What kind of information could be requested by something that knows and can process vast amounts of information about governments, bureaucracies and data systems? What kind of questions and answers could they make public for humans? When a member of the public asks German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen about the dehumanization of contemporary music and arts in his 1972’s lecture “Four Criteria of Electronic Music,” he paraphrases Sri Araubindo’s, an Indian yoga master, poet and 21st century philosopher of the first half of the Twentieth Century, idea of evolution – or involution, as he corrects himself: “We are in a situation nowadays that is comparable (…) with when the first so called human beings came out of the kingdom that scientists do not call human beings.”

This jump took place when an ape took a flesh bone and killed another one with a bone in order to survive, Stockhausen says Araubindo’s said. The era of  intelligence came along.

Reflection: “Journalism is life”

Today we learned new tips about investigative journalism and collaborations with the Pulitzer price winner M.L. Erick. He was kind enough to talk to us about his job and the strategies he has to do an investigative piece. He taught us to remember that there’s always a story to tell, so you just need to find it, search for the facts and then figure out the best way to tell it. Here are some of the most important tips for your investigation:

1. What do I need to tell this story?

Opinion: Journalism in the era of “post-truth”

What does a Pulitzer Prize winner think about the current challenges faced by journalism? M.L. Elrick won the most important journalistic award in the USA for his stores about local politics in Detroit. For him, the most important thing in a story are the facts. “Always let the facts get in the way of a good story,” Elrick said. But what happens to the so-called phenomenon of “post truth,” when the facts are replaced by credible lies?

Do we publish or not?

Today we had the privilege to meet Pulitzer prize photographer Judy Walgren, who taught us the importance of images and visual content. She also gave us tips to take better pictures and do awesome portraits. She made us think about the ethical issues behind publishing and taking a photograph. She showed us a picture of a drowned boy and his family looking at his dead body while crying. The boy died in a public pool because there were no lifeguards due to a lack of fundings.

Backstage Portraits

Come check out our Sunday work with the great Judy Walgren!

The assignment was to take individual portraits using the visual storytelling techniques that Judy taught us.

Pulitzer Prize winner Judy Walgren: 5 tips to improve our photojournalism skills

In 1994, photojournalist Judy Walgren won the Pulitzer Prize for her work documenting female genital mutilation in Africa. Since then, Judy has completed a number of projects depicting war zones, famines, draughts and all kinds of human crisis around the globe. Today we had the opportunity to get to know Judy and ask her about her best tips to create visual impact and convey the drama behind these realities, through a photo.

Use your grid: Judy recommends using the grid on your screen or viewfinder while working on the composition of a photo. The idea is to position your main elements on either one of the junctions on the grid.