Photo Essay: Portray YOUR Rochester

For your major fall photography assignment, you will create a photographic essay representing Rochester as you see it. You may choose to photograph your neighborhood, family, sports team, or favorite after school hangout. Take as many photos as you can – the more options you have to choose from, the better. At the end of the unit, you will post the 10-12 photographs that you feel best show your vision of Rochester (along with a 250 word artist statement) to your blog.

A Teacher’s View of Rochester


Photo Credit: Ms. Lawson


Photo Credit: Ms. Lawson


Photo Credit: Ms. Lawson


Photo Credit: Ms. Lawson

Project Requirements:

  • 10-12 quality, edited (if necessary) photographs united by the theme “My Rochester”
  • Photos are black & white
  • Photos fit all criteria of a good photograph discussed up this point (proper lighting; interesting angle; clear subject that is in focus; tells a story; background adds to, rather than detract from, the subject of the image)
  • 250 word artist statement in the same blog post as the final 10-12 edited photos

Here are some examples of powerful photo essays:

Past “My View of Rochester” Photo Essays by SOTA Students:

The Speech that Inspired the Project

Shortly after taking office in 2014, Mayor Lovely Warren referred to Rochester as “a tale of two cities.” Here is a brief excerpt from that speech (you can read the speech in its entirety here):

“In his State of the State address just a few short weeks ago, Governor Cuomo candidly and accurately described Upstate New York as being in a “cycle of decline” — and the evidence of this is clear to see in Rochester.  The Rochester of today is far different from the Rochester of just a generation ago. Rochester is a tale of two cities.  One city is vibrant, hopeful, wealthy, and highly livable. The other suffers from escalating poverty, dysfunction, unemployment that is higher today than it was during the Great Depression — and a deficient educational system.  This divide has both immediate human consequences and short and long-term economic consequences.

The Mayor’s challenge — our community’s shared challenge — is to bridge these divides so that all people feel there is hope for them and their children; and we all feel that we have an equal stake in the future.  A recent report by the Rochester Area Community Foundation outlined the harsh reality we face; and the findings are a call to action that cannot go unanswered.

Rochester is the:

  • Fifth poorest city in the country among the top 75 largest metropolitan areas;
  • Second poorest among comparably sized cities in those metro areas;
  • Ranked third for highest concentration of extremely poor neighborhoods among cities in the top 100 metro areas;
  • Poorest urban school district in the State.”

Today we will:

  • Introduce the new photojournalism project: My View of Rochester
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • Any photos you took for previous assignments this year that you think may work well as part of your “My View of Rochester” photo essay. (You should plan to take new photos for the majority of your photo essay, but for now, it is ok to post 2-4 ones you may potentially use.)
    • A few sentences describing potential subject matter you may want to photograph for this project, as well as how you plan to photograph this subject matter (ie. if you want to take photos of your sports team, explain whether you have access to a camera outside of class, whether your coach would be ok with you taking photos, etc.)
    • A few sentences analyzing your current strengths and weakness regarding photography, and how you will use these to your advantage in your photo essay






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s