Light Assignment

The Dirty Dozen has the light assignment a couple of weeks ago, but a few students are still roaming the streets with cameras looking for great light, and I wanted to show a couple of pictures they turned in last week.

First off, Christina Layton turned a number of nice pictures last week, but the interesting light in this picture made it stand out a bit from the rest of her edit. The image was shot mid-day, but Christina used composition to cut out the other distracting elements around her subject and managed to put him against this nice dark background. To see more of Christina’s work, visit her blog by clicking HERE.


The next picture I wanted to recognize was made by Kernel staff photographer Britney McIntosh. Britney waited for over an hour in the hallway to make this picture, and I appreciate her having the patience to wait until someone came into the frame to make the picture, rather than just shooting an image of the hallway and moving on. Making great pictures takes time, and this is a good example of what can happen when you really sink time and effort into your photography.


Whitney Waters has also been shooting light over the past week, and made a nice series of images at The Dame in downtown Lexington.


For those of you who weren’t able to be at the Dirty Dozen meeting last week, the assignment is to shoot moments for this Thursday’s meeting.


Carissa Ray – Bio

Carissa Ray is a multimedia producer at, a general news web site seen by over 30 million unique users each month. Ray has worked at since spring 2005.

In this role, Ray works as a photographer, photo editor and producer to create multimedia content across all sections of, though she acts specifically as a liaison for multimedia with the Health section of helping to create projects like “America Unzipped” and “Babyquest.”

Ray also often produces popular multimedia features such as The Week in Pictures and the Year in Pictures.

During her time at, Ray’s projects have earned her recognition from the National Press Photographers Association for her original video reporting/production and audio slide show production.

Before coming to, Ray worked as a staff photographer for the Chautauquan Daily in Chautauqua, New York, and moonlighted as a wedding photographer and free lancer while waitressing and rock climbing full time (well, almost). Ray graduated with a B.A. in Photojournalism from Western Kentucky University completing both the PJ and Multimedia tracks of the program.


Speaker :: Carissa Ray from

This coming Thursday Carissa Ray, a multimedia editor/producer for out of Seattle will be coming to speak. As of right now we will be meeting in the Classroom Building at 8:00 for her presentation. In addition of producing some really great multimedia for MSNBC, she is one of the photo editors responsible for putting together both the Week and the Year in Pictures.


Dirty Dozen :: First group assignment

This Thursday we will be looking over your work from the summer, but I will also be handing out your first group assignment – Grit. I’ll be posting a little more about this tomorrow, along with a pictures to maybe guide the thought process. For the next few days, though, I want you all to be think about all possible ways to visualize the word Grit. You can be completely literal and take a picture of grits. You can move outside the literal a bit and go with an image of gravel, or you can be really interpretive and show the grit of being homeless. How you interpret this assignment is up to you, as long as you bring back a really awesome picture that embodies the word grit.

Typically with out group assignments we’ll be critiquing you work together at the Dirty Dozen meeting the following week. Because of Dave Pierini speaking next week, however, we’ll be doing it a little different. Email you five favorite Grit pictures to me at, and I’ll put my favorite pictures on the blog along with a small critique.

If you have any questions just send me an email at, or drop by and see me in the photo adviser office in the Kentucky Kernel.


The Dirty Dozen’s first speaker: Dave Pierini

As I mentioned on the blog’s front page we are very, very lucky to have Dave Pierini come to speak at UK. He will be speaking on September 20 at 7:30. ( The date is definite, the time could possibly change, but we’ll let you know.) Dave is the chief photographer at The Herald in Jasper, In and is mildly legendary as both a newspaper photojournalist and an amazing story teller. The Herald itself has quite a reputation as a photographer’s paradise, a place that runs a full photo story every week and where the photographers shot Tri-X until just a few years ago. They also have an amazing 6 month internship that you all should be thinking VERY hard about applying for. The deadline fall on the week after Dave’s talk here at UK so you will be able to personally apply for the position and submit your portfolio.


Jasper, In., has a populations somewhere in the ballpark of 12,000 people, which makes what Dave has created there even more amazing. Dave regularly wins awards in the International Pictures of the Year competition, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, and many others. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not need to go off to war to make a name for yourself. All you need is time, hard work and passion for what you do. As photojournalists we are given both a great gift and a great responsibility as the people resonsible for documenting our communities, our world events and our history as humanity. You guys will be carrying the weight of this responsibility the following week as you travel to Eastern Kentucky for the UK workshop. I think Dave will have a lot of wisdom to impart that you can take with you to Paintsville and as such I would really like to see a lot of you all there.



Baraka Reminder:

Again, this is just a reminder that we’ll be showing Baraka this coming Thursday. Below is a 9 minute or so clip from the last third of the film. One of the things I like most about this movie is the thought process that must have been necessary to produce these shots. Looking at the clip you’ll see that the images presented are not the result of literal, surface-level, obvious photography. Producing these images required that the photographer thought very far outside the box, finding a way to take a location that millions of people see every day and presenting it to them in a way that they had never seen before. This is a principle that you should be applying to the best of your ability every time you pick up a camera. If you do so, and are committed to your craft, you will go very far professionally. Even more importantly you will make images that matter, have the chance to affect change and touch lives, which is the ultimate goal of all of this.


Movie Night: Next Thursday at 9:00 p.m.


Next Thursday at 9:00 p.m. we be showing the film Baraka in the Dirty Dozen metting room (aka Dave’s office, aka the blue couch room). Chris is volunteering to brink a big tub of popcorn for everyone, just in case the chance to see the absolutely amazing film isn’t enough motivation for you. If you have ever seen the Planet Earth series by the Discovery Channel, the best way to describe Baraka is that it is similar in form to Planet Earth. I really encourage you all to try to make it to all, or part, of the movie as it visually, mentally, and photographically a really amazing body of work. To shoot Baraka the photographers journeyed through 24 countries and six continents over a period of 14 months.


Here are some excerpts from a couple of film reviews, to give you an idea of what you’re in for:

The film Baraka is a brilliant and exemplary model of the effective use of poetic mode in documentary film making. The lack of linear time or established location, the lack of explicated voice-over narrative, and the inclusion of manipulated sound and performance, work to make this film a work of art that documents truth in a unique and original form from a unique and original perspective that could be no one’s but film maker’s own. By examining these technical elements, we will see how director Ron Fricke used poetic mode to create his meaning.

Baraka is an ancient Sufi word, which can be translated as “a blessing, or as the breath, or essence of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds.” For many people Baraka is the definitive film in this style. Breathtaking shots from around the world show the beauty and destruction of nature and humans. Coupled with an incredible soundtrack including on site recordings of The Monks Of The Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery. Baraka is evidence of a huge global project fueled by a personal passion for the world and visual art. One of the very last films shot in the expensive TODD-AO 70mm format, Ron Fricke developed a computer controlled camera for the incredible time-lapse shots, including New York’s Park Avenue rush hour traffic and the crowded Tokyo subway platforms. The Baraka DVD also includes behind the scenes footage, including scenes of the grueling shoot at Ayer’s Rock in Australia, when a plague of flies of Biblical proportions made it impossible to film until they rigged up a vacuum to suck the bugs away from the lens.




5 Responses to “The Dirty Dozen”

  1. […] for the Kernel and UK’s photojournalism program in general. Tomorrow is movie night for the Dirty Dozen, UK’s unofficial official photojournalism club, group, or whatever. If you’re a […]

  2. Ana Clegg said

    Hi Jim,

    I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to submit any photos this week for the Grit assignment. I’m leaving town for the weekend and couldn’t get out to take pictures. Forgive me, but I am going to the workshop next week which I am totally psyched about! Have a great rest of the week and I see you next week 🙂

  3. Stunning, I did not heard about this topic until now. Thanx.

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