Story Finding – Photography vs Murals

As a former photography editor for The Tech, part of my job included taking a series of photos from different event, whether it be a campus performance or a demonstration in Harvard Square, and turning it into a story that makes sense to the general audience. Most events tend to be summed up into just one picture, though there are other instances where multiple photos from the event are run as a “photo spread”. Things I had to consider included the usual what/when/where of the photo, but also (and most importantly) why the event pictured was happening and its relative importance compared to the other photos submitted for the current issue. This is process was repeated on a) all photos submitted for an event and b) all photos that are selected for each event for the issue, to determine placement in the issue. My goal was to create an accurate and relevant presentation of various events that are interesting and relevant to the MIT audience.

Compared with our story finding process for the Food for Free Mural, we were given a dataset with information about Food For Free’s work over the last few years, and an insider perspective on how it works and why it’s important. From this information, we cherrypicked what we considered the most important and formulated sentences that were then joined to create a cohesive story.

These processes, though dealing with different kinds of “data”, were not all that different — both involved some sort of cherrypicking, or narrowing down of the information that was available — while still trying to get a good “picture” of what is going on. Another process not talked about here is the development of the visual design – the designing of photo spreads also has similarities to our process for designing the mural.

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