Category Archives: Photojournalism

CCI Faculty and Students Travel to Israel With Comparative Religous Thought II Class

By: Emily Horne

The Jewish Studies group in a Druze village. © Photo by Megann Galehouse

In May, David LaBelle, who is directing the Photojournalism program, and two of his students traveled to Israel. On this trip, they joined Chaya Kessler, Director of the Jewish Studies program, David Odell Scott, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, and other students participating in a short study-abroad trip through Comparative Religious Thought II, which fulfills both the Humanities Core and Global Diversity requirement.

A market area from the streets of Old City Jerusalem. © Photo by David LaBelle

Kessler said after speaking to LaBelle at a new hire orientation three years ago, they discovered many similar interests that could potentially lead to collaboration. “In both our programs we strive to expand beyond our own small niche. Collaborations allow this to naturally develop,” Kessler said. LaBelle also spoke highly of the collaboration saying, “this is what we need to be doing more of, quite frankly.”

LaBelle worked with students Megann Galehouse and Chloe Makarick to create an independent study project that involved the trip to Israel. The initial goal of the project was to do more than simply travel photography because “to shoot any kind of intimate or meaningful pictures on tour is a challenge,” LaBelle said.

The group chose to explore the idea of the “Jerusalem Syndrome,” a condition in which people think they are, in fact, one of the Bible figures and become very emotionally involved at those religious sites. This project proved to be more time consuming and in depth than expected so the group revised their focus.

The Stone of Unction inside the Church of the Holy Sephulchre in Jerusalem. © Photo by Chloe Makarick

While traveling, LaBelle, Galehouse, and Makarick shifted gears and looked more at prayer and how different people are praying. They tried to focus on how individuals choose to express their faith. Since Israel is the center of different religions, it provides for a variety of religious experiences. This project will continue throughout the semester.

Galehouse, a junior in the photojournalism program, said this trip allowed her to learn how to be more patient with others as well as the importance of allowing oneself to get to know people based on their interests and thoughts. “It will open your eyes to new things and teach you to be a better person,” she said.

Makarick, a senior information design major and photojournalism minor, said her own personal goal with this trip was try to connect with as many people as she could. Not only did she connect with the people in Israel but with the others on the trip as well. “It was awesome how great the group meshed together. We were all intermingling, learning from each other and exchanging ideas,” she said.

Prayer candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. © Photo by Megann Galehouse

Galehouse indicated her biggest takeaway from this trip as having the opportunity to shadow LaBelle. She said that experience was truly beneficial and something she will treasure. Makarick’s biggest takeaway was the realization that you have to experience unfamiliar cultures with an open mind and accept everyone despite the differences you may have.

Photographs from this trip and project will be on display near the Wick Poetry Center in the Library beginning September 12.

“I assure of you this: I came back not thinking I was Jesus or John the Baptist. Some people were a little surprised that I didn’t suffer from the Jerusalem Complex,” LaBelle joked.

Cell Phone Photography Course Teaches Students to Tell Stories with Pictures

By Nicole Gennarelli

Every day people use their smart phones to take pictures and videos that are later uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media accounts. At Kent State University, a course is offered that teaches students how to refine these skills to produce quality photography.

Cell phone photography, taught by JMC Lecturer David LaBelle, aims to teach students about composition and light, how to anticipate action and emotion and to tell stories with pictures. Students must complete a picture story with captions as a final project. This spring is the second semester the class has been offered, and it is proving to be quite popular.

“The course was born out of discussion in a faculty meeting about classes that we would like to offer to those outside of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication,” LaBelle said. “Recognizing how many people had cell phones with cameras, the growing interest in cell phone photography and the increased quality of image files, I felt the time was ripe to offer students the chance to learn the basics of photography without having to invest in a digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. It looks like the class is here to stay.”

LaBelle teaches the class like a basic photography course, with discussions of light, timing, color and composition. He focuses on topics like portraiture, landscapes, dealing with motion, ethics of cell phone photography, ways to deal with low light situations, color correction, transmitting images and storage.

“The file sizes on the cell phones and smart phones make it possible to create some amazing images, many comparable to 35mm SLR,” he said. “We also talk about different applications available for different phones. We look at different types of images being created today – art, commercial and photojournalism. The camera phone is no longer a toy or a novelty; it is a very real tool used by beginners and professionals.”

This course is open to all students on campus. Part of the purpose for the class is to introduce non-JMC students to the department and specifically the photojournalism sequence, LaBelle said.

“I learned you don’t need a nice camera to take good pictures, and that a picture is more than an image; it holds value, emotion, tells a story, supports a cause,” said Casey Engelhart, sophomore electronic media major. “Photography is more than images; it is life.”

LaBelle loves seeing students get excited about photography and learning new things.

“Teaching this class also reminds me how much I love photography, without all the expensive, intimidating gear,” he said. “If I could teach a point and shoot film camera class, I would like that even more. I truly believe less is more. Beyond this, I truly love the students.”

Photos by David LaBelle.

Nicole Gennarelli is a senior public relations major and a marketing assistant for the College of Communication and Information.