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Cliff Jernigan

                                                                    Day 21 of New York "Pause." Washington Heights, 4.13.20, Photo: Cliff Jernigan

                                                                                                           A Total Class Act


Every semester I greet new students and welcome them to my photojournalism class.  Some have experience with a DSLR, most have never used any camera except for the one built into their smartphone.

Students were excited to explore the theories and techniques of photojournalism and they really looked forward to the end of semester photo essay which is a culminating project.  Then in mid-March the "pause" or "stay-at-home" policy for New York was enacted and nothing was normal.  Students, like everyone else, stayed inside.  Without access to DSLRs, we returned to smartphones, used Zoom to discuss manual operation of camera phones, and deployed Pixlr (thanks, Professor Chun) to edit images.

One class project involved remote portraits via the internet.  My inspiration for this assignment came from the tremendous work of Jackie Russo ("Isolation Portraits").  Check out her work, it's outstanding.

Using iPhones, Androids, free editing software, and creativity, these concerned young photojournalists set out to bear witness, remotely, and document the personal stories of those in isolation, often many miles away.  They went after it.  Here are the remote portraits captured by the students of JRNL 041, spring 2020.  

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Jules Battaglia

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Alex Whitbeck

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Franklin Duran

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Avalon Condzella


Kiera Bussiere

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Lauren Brill


Kelly Mayberry

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Ashley Mendez

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Tyler Fields

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Angelo Vansant

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Danielle Koscik

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Betty Araya


Ahjane Forbes

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”

— Paul Caponigro

           “There is one thing the photograph must contain,

                             the humanity of the moment.”

                                     -- Robert Frank

Thanks for your thoughts!

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    Merchant - Saigon, Vietnam  6.20.2014   Photo: Cliff Jernigan

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