Communications Media Class Takes Students to New York

Posted on 6/11/2018 1:42:55 PM

The streets of Manhattan provided the venue for a summer 2018 photography course taught by Communications Media faculty member Rachel Porter Fox. Fifteen students enrolled in the COMM 408 Media Field Studies traveled to New York to view the city through the lens of their cameras.

During the course, Fox worked with the students on photography concepts, including understanding lighting, composition, and framing. “In NYC it's tempting to take the ‘tourist’ photos, so I encouraged them to take that photo, but then to find a way to make it uniquely theirs, a different perspective, style, or composition. These students produced some excellent work. I was pleased to see them explore different aspects of the city and city life.”

Photography class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in NYC in summer 2018

Students spent the week photographing the urban environment—street scenes, architecture, exhibits, and nature—to compile those images into a photo book, supplied by a Pittsburgh company, Forever. During the week-long experience, students took advantage of what the city had to offer, visiting the Museum of Modern Art, the Met Cloisters, and a photography exhibit at the International Center of Photography. The class spent a morning at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (as shown in the group photo) and walked back to the city across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Communications Media student Katherine Marodi appreciated this unique opportunity. “My favorite part of the New York City trip was applying what I learned in my beginning photography class. I’ve been to New York City several times, but I’ve never used it as an opportunity to focus on taking pictures. I also loved meeting IUP Communications Media alumni and hearing about their careers. I met so many great people on this trip, and it definitely made me realize that I have chosen the right major.”

Alumni from the Department of Communications Media met with the students one afternoon to talk about their work and living in New York, and to offer advice to students on their careers. Keaton Smith, a 2012 graduate of the program, is a freelance television production manager. Smith talked about the flexibility this career choice offers as she travels for location work on shows such as HGTV’s Island Life and A&E’s 60 Days In.  Other alumni who talked with the group were multimedia designer and cinematographer Scott Fetterman (2010) and Brad Kohlenstein (1999), who is vice president for development at North/South Productions.

For this first-time experience, Fox explained she was most concerned about keeping track of her students. “Getting 15 students, some of whom had never  been to New York, on and off the subway was a challenge. I always made sure everyone knew how to navigate the subway system and knew where we were going.”

Fox also recognized a week was simply not enough time. “I want to give the students some free time. We packed so much into this week that when Friday came we were all exhausted.”

Fox plans to offer the course annually during the pre-summer session in mid to late May and to add one or two days to the course schedule for future offerings.