Mark Kauzlarich, a photojournalist grad student at Mizzou, came to our class today to talk about his passion, photography. While he started with an interest in Political Science and can speak fluent Arabic, shortly after graduation he discovered his love of photojournalism through photographing the protests in Wisconsin. Since then, he has done work for the New York Times, Reuters, The Washington Post, The Columbian and more.
He opened the class by showing examples from his own portfolio. (His website is http://www.markkauzlarich.com/home. I highly suggest you take a look because some of the shots are pretty incredible.) He has shot Ferguson, Copts in Egypt, and an ongoing story about coon hunting in Missouri to name a few.
We discussed how important capturing emotion is. Photography is such a powerful medium that allows an audience to be a split second moment, and as a photojournalist, he is gets to help his audience be there. Emotion is something very special; you may have two people portraying the same emotion on their face, but without a doubt, they look completely different. We get to see this through excellent photography.
He also shared with us the importance of intimacy. Getting a camera up in some one’s face is uncomfortable for everyone as is getting into a stranger’s truck filled shotguns and dogs about to go coon hunting. But this is where excellent photography is found. He showed us work from a friend of his Matt Eich. Eich has won a boat load of awards and has equally great photos as Kauzlarich. We first see a photo set about a town in the South that is living two separate lives. On one side of the railroad tracks is an affluent white community and on the other side is a poverty-stricken black community. The closeness, intimacy and raw emotion in Eich’s photos is incredible (http://matteichphoto.com/sin-salvation-in-baptist-town). Next, we are seen a set of photos that appears to be following a young women through her pregnancy and life of her newborn child (http://matteichphoto.com/love-in-the-first-person). As you read the captions, you discover these photos are about his now wife and child. The magic though is when you discover that Eich has brought the same connections and emotions in the photos of Baptist Town and the photos of his own family.
I think this was one of my favorite classes so far. While I’m not particularly interested in a career in photojournalism, this opened up a new light on what it takes to be one. I definitely believe it takes a special person with lots of heart and drive. Photos are an amazing way to see the world, and I’m glad I live an age where they are so prevalent in our lives.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from Mark Kauzlarich. They can be found on his website, http://www.markkauzlarich.com/home.