Thanks to an invitation from the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, I was awarded a Mellon Scholar-in-Residence fellowship.
The journalism classes after first year are smaller, mostly about 25 students (I think), but I haven’t figured all that out yet.
English is the language of instruction at Rhodes University, so the students are fluent in English. The weather has been lovely — sunny at mid-80s (Farenheit) in the afternoon, cool in the mornings. Teenage pregnancy rates in the US have declined dramatically – 40 percent in two decades – but remain among the highest in the developed world.
Teenage pregnancy was the focus of a 2010 Candies Foundation campaign featuring Bristol Palin to educate teens about the consequences of pregnancy.
Why is a teenage girl in Mississippi four times as likely to give birth than a teenage girl in New Hampshire? The answer, according to a study published today in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, may well lie in social inequality. Academics and policy-makers have known for decades that girls living in lower socio-economic circumstances are more likely than their wealthier peers to become pregnant. The teen birth rate for black teens has dropped even more dramatically than for whites and Hispanics, plummeting from 118.2 per 1,000 to 59 in 2009.
So-called “shotgun marriages,” those unions that take place post-pregnancy but before the baby is born, have fallen over the past decades.
Completing a photo-essay is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding tasks for any photographer. Over the next four weeks, I will take you through the steps I take when producing photo-essay,s for exhibition and publication. In this first of four blog entries on the photo-essay, we start with the basics, what is a photo-essay.  Defining anything is always a good step before moving forward.
We can break down photo-essay into two parts, as in the words “photo” and “essay.”  Assuming we can agree on what a photo is, then we should agree to the definition of an essay. The best photo-essays communicate an idea that others can understand without your presence or your explanation. The easy part of any photo-essay is choosing the topic and the hardest part of is deciding on your point of view.  One way to do this is to simply start photographing and pay attention to what works visually as well as to what part of the topic holds your attention.
One way that helps me start a photo-essay is to, after the initial photography, write out a project proposal.  In the proposal I try to articulate, what is my point of view?
My photo-essays are always made with public dissemination in mind.  If I am going to go through the trouble of defining and then executing a photo-essay, I want my point of view to have an impact on others. Writing down my understanding of the topic, my thoughts about my potential point of view, etc.
This does not mean you should not be open to your photo-essay changing.  But having a clear definition means you stay “on message” as you move forward with your photo-essay and you do not get distracted by other things.

In the second blog entry I will explore shooting strategies for photographing the ever evolving photo-essay. The photos shown here are from my project: The relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. This project was funded by a fellowship from the Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation of the MacArthur Foundation.
Burundi, located just south of Rwanda, is a nation emerging from a war-time crisis and entering a new era of cultural understanding, tolerance and education.
The important stories of the Third World are often left untold, in the global media, simply because they don’t have the technology and training to make compelling films and documentaries.
Our vision is that the Burundi Film Center (BFC) develop as a three phase initiative towards the development of Burundi as a film and video-producing nation; for its product, talent and ultimately for the country as a location for producing foreign films. TH!NK ABOUT IT - european blogging competition A project by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), Maastricht.
Fifty years after King's March on Washington, young civil rights activists push dreams of their own.
In their journalism class, the first-years meet in a lecture of about 200 students four times a week.
I buy a voucher card at a university office, take it home, scratch off a number, and then send a text message with that number to the power company. The town is small, but there are several good options for meals and for coffee (so important!). It will be getting colder through July, and the cottage is heated only by two stand-alone electric heaters. A photo-essay can be on pretty much any subject matter and utilize almost any photographic style. We also know an essay as a short literary composition on a single subject, presenting the personal view of the author.
Film makers do not just show us their story, they encourage us to love (or hate) the players in the drama at the core of their motion pictures.
My project proposal for that project says: In 1990, before the first Madrid peace conference, I started photographing the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.
I come from Prague (City of writer Franz Kafka) I studied Film Academy of Miroslav Ondricek in Pisek (Screenwriting and Directing). The absence of a developed media has crippled the nation’s ability to operate as a proper democracy and exposed the need for professional journalism and artistic expression through audio-visual storytelling. Burundi is a nation emerging from a war-time crisis and entering a new era of cultural understanding, tolerance and education.
Burungi has quite bad reputation and people are afraid to visit the country as it seems to be the most dangarous for tourist in the region. There is a rather large IT staff for the j-school, and they’re been very helpful to me.

In other words, the library apparently does a good job of buying the current texts in the field, and the lecturers are consulting those books. I was told the most common first language in Grahamstown and the surrounding area is Xhosa, followed by Afrikaans, with English third. The key elements to a good photo-essay are a unified set of images on one topic, portraying the photographer’s point of view of the subject. In my experience, the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis is best viewed as a spectrum. With no outside funding, their own equipment and some resourceful friends, the Canadians (two from Ottawa, one from Montreal) were able to train 36 students, aged 18-25, the basics of film production and produce five short dramatic films. The students are a combination of recent graduates and people who have been working for a while — not always in journalism.
Xhosa is the dominant African language in the Eastern Cape — the state that Grahamstown is in. At one end of the spectrum is conflict, at the other end of the spectrum is cooperation, intentional attempts at understanding one another through dialogue groups, summer camps, etc. The BFC is a unique opportunity for Burundian citizens to learn essential 21st century mass communication skills from international filmmakers and documentarians, while engaging those same media experts in African issues. Finally, she drops to the floor and squeezes beside friends Giovanni Rocco and Issis Alvarez, making sure to keep her toes behind the yellow tape that zigzags across the forest green carpet. We find the opposite pattern when we focus on abortions as a teen – much less-frequent abortions among teens with low socioeconomic status in high-inequality states – and no pattern like this when we repeat this exercise for sexual activity.”The authors tried to adjust their findings for other conditions that could lead to “despair” – poverty concentration, for instance, or the incarceration rate.
The middle of the spectrum is co-existence, day-to-day interactions in shared working, living, and playing spaces. The conclusions were the same.“No silver bullet such as expanding access to contraception or abstinence education will solve this particular social problem,” they write. Coexistence is the heart of the relationship and the part of the relationship that is most ignored in the media at large. We do not believe that policies targeted directly at teen pregnancy prevention – sex education, improved access to contraception, abstinence counseling, and the like – are likely to improve outcomes much for disadvantaged young women.
My photographs of the occupation and the forced interaction between Israelis and Palestinians highlight the problems, while images of their intentional, chosen interactions show the positive possibilities. Instead, we believe that with improved economic opportunities, reduced poverty, and improved prospects for other adult outcomes, teen pregnancy would also decline.”They also suggest more study of why, exactly the teen birth rate has declined over the past decade. It is very telling that when I disseminate my work, in and out of the Middle East, viewers are surprised by their inability to tell Palestinian from Israeli, reminding viewers of the similarity between the two. My goal was to put a human face on the struggles for Middle East peace and to educate people both in and outside of the Middle East.

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