Rally coverage down in DC

Journalism, Photography, Uncategorized

This past weekend was the Forward on Climate rally in Washington D.C. I was fortunate enough to cover it for The Ithacan. So, myself and a staff of 4 other reporters, photographers and videographers headed to D.C. to check it out. It was a great time, here are some quick shots.

Fred Wilcox shares his activism stories.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Professors share narratives of lifelong activism

Documentary, Film & Video, Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

Here at Ithaca College there is a large group of professors who stand by their beliefs and ideals. These professors are activists and constantly go out and protest and do work in order to make these ideas known and to fight injustice. As a part of a collegiate institution they share their beliefs with their students and try to be the inspiration for them to get out and fight for what they belief in.

From left, senior captain Nate Hemingway and Assistant Coach Ryan Heasly react to the Bombers' loss.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

The Cortaca Jug football game

Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

The 54th annual Cortaca Jug football game was held on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. The Ithaca College Bombers lost to the SUNY-Cortland Red Dragons 16-10. This is my account from the sidelines. And as I am from Ithaca College, it was the Bomber side of things.

From left, junior Reeve Moir blocks a shot from junior Victoria Tran during a demonstration of pinkyball Sunday, Nov. 4, in the Fitness Center.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Gritty in pink: Ithaca College welcomes new intramural sport

Features, Journalism

It started with a group of high school friends in Nahant, Mass., with a net built out of sticks and a 99-cent rubber ball. Twenty-eight years and 350 miles later, a schoolyard game called pinkyball has made its way to Ithaca.

Election Night at the Democratic Headquarters in Ithaca, N.Y.

Photojournalism: Election night in Ithaca, N.Y.

Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

Election night is always emotional, no matter who you are backing. Here in Ithaca, NY people were able to celebrate President Barack Obama’s re-election. With triumphant and emotional cheers.

Election Night at the Democratic Headquarters in Ithaca, N.Y.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 — Olayinka Omotosho, a Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University, celebrates in response to hearing CNN predict President Barack Obama’s re-election while at the Tompkins County Democratic Party headquarters at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca, N.Y.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Dave Maley, associate director of media relations, will be facilitating communication between student media and college administrators.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Editorial portrait: David Maley

Journalism, Photography, Photography, Portraits

Dave Maley, associate director of media relations, will be facilitating communication between student media and college administrators. 
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

This is part of a new policy implemented by Ithaca College president Tom Rochon. All student media must contact Maley to set up interviews with upper level faculty and administrators. The campus community has responded very strongly to this new policy, including a letter urging repeal from about 70 faculty members as of Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.

Find the story here at theithacan.org/25742.

Fire at The State Street Diner

Photojournalism: Fire at the State Street Diner

Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

Selections of my photojournalism will also appear from time to time. This is how I am introducing this new section on this site. Hope you enjoy! Here is the first image, a personal favorite.

Fire at The State Street Diner

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 — Stuart Prineas, an electrical contractor, examines the damage from a fire Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 at the State Street Diner. The diner caught fire at about 4:30 p.m. from what local authorities believe to have been faulty wiring, however the investigation is still ongoing.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

A journalists code

A journalist’s code of ethics

Documentary, Film & Video, Journalism

A Journalist’s Code of Ethics

-To hold my work to the highest standards.
-To not do anything against my own beliefs, values and virtues.
-And to do no harm.
-I must keep myself free to pursue my own goals while at the same time making sure that my work can benefit others when possible.
-To never be held to any single belief or idea. Never allowing my thoughts to stop evolving.
-Finally, to always allow for change.

Shawn Steiner

Oscar eats some Sacoglottis fruit.

‘Chimpanzee': Chimp exploited in Disney documentary

Journalism, Reviews

Oscar is a cute, orphaned chimpanzee, but the story of his life is overwhelmed by an unnecessary dichotomy manufactured by the filmmakers.

Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield successfully continued the theme of past Disneynature films with the recent “Chimpanzee.” The crew spent four years in Taï National Park in West Africa with troops of chimpanzees to capture the intimate footage viewers rarely see. However, the documentary is set up more like a Hollywood chimp action movie than a realistic, scientific look into the lives of animals.

The film’s main attraction is the storyline in which Freddy, the leader of a troop of chimpanzees, adopts Oscar. This is the first time that an act of altruism by chimpanzees had been captured on film. Unfortunately, the anthropomorphization of the chimpanzees is too extreme. The filmmakers even go so far as to name the leader of the rival chimp group Scar, an obvious reference to the classic “Lion King” villain of the same name.

The rivalry between the two clans of chimps revolves around their search for food, especially in the nut grove Freddy’s clan frequents. Freddy and his troop occasionally make their way to the border of the territories for berries and other food — the necessities for their survival. However, when Scar and his fellow chimps try to cross the line, the viewer will see it as a potential takeover and raid of Oscar’s lands.

While chimpanzees like Freddy show their own personalities, the filmmakers take it too far. Isha is set up as the sole caretaker for Oscar and thus her eventual death and Oscar’s loneliness are overdramatized.

Tim Allen’s narration helps explain the nature of chimpanzees and their familial system. When talking about tools, he makes a clear nod to his time on television. The film is designed for the younger audience, so the narration adds to the footage in a way that is entertaining to children and yet still has substance for those willing to look a little bit deeper into the astounding abilities of chimpanzees.

Oscar is an adorable young chimpanzee, and the clan is fun to watch, but if you aren’t a child, the blatant overstatement of characterization will not pass unnoticed, distracting you from the real beauty of the captured moments.

“Chimpanzee” was directed Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield.

#2 - Marines_HELL AND BACK AGAIN_Courtesy of Danfung Dennis

‘Hell and Back Again’: Stirring portrait captures PTSD

Journalism, Reviews

Stunning visuals and powerful storytelling draw the viewer into the life of Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris, a man who is forever changed — both physically and emotionally — by war in “Hell and Back Again.” Director Danfung Dennis is able to capture Harris’ mentality in this moving documentary.

Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris sits and thinks during his time in Iraq.
Photo courtesy of Danfung Dennis

The film portrays Harris’ life  in a delicate manner, resulting in an extremely observational and poetic documentary. Dennis presents a man who believes in his mission, a soldier completely drawn by a sense of purpose and honor. His bravery allows him to lead his men through battle — and then back home.

But while the soldiers leave the atrocities of war, viewers find out that the painful memories never completely leave them. Dennis skillfully weaves scenes of war in with Harris’ time at home. However, even while at home, his desire to fight is apparent in his words and actions.

Sound plays a crucial role throughout the film, leading viewers through war scenes and then back into Harris’ reflection at home. Overlapping transitional audio allows the viewer to feel how the war always follows veterans home.

Dennis creates a sentimental portrait of Harris both before and after the war. Harris is portrayed as brave and composed, able to command troops with ease and gather information with expertise. It is an enjoyable experience to watch him in action, but quickly becomes upsetting. The construction of the film is carefully planned so that the viewer has a better understanding of Harris’ emotions.

Dennis’ experience as a photojournalist comes through in the film’s cinematography. Using a camera with a small form factor allowed Dennis to get close to the action. During the war scenes, he is on the ground with the troops, crawling in the ditches as guns fire around him. This perspective allows for the cinematic look and shallow depth of field — a common feature of fiction films.

At the end of the film, the viewer can see the argument the documentary presents: war is something that will always be with those who experience it. The final scene of the film has Harris speaking about the realization that he is finished and that his mind will always have to deal with the haunting memories of war.

“Hell and Back Again” was written and directed by Danfung Dennis.