SunStar CDO kickstarts Phoneography seminar

PHOTOJOURNALISM plays an important role in our lives today, especially in news media. This is where we communicate news by photographs. Photography demands both honesty and a partial story-telling for the community to communicate.

Phoneography is said to be the future of photography. This modern art does not involve DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras because it is all about capturing, sharing, editing, and viewing photos by using only smart phones. Because of the popularity and almost anyone today has access to camera phones, anyone can freely take pictures and share it to social media sites.

In most times however, the practice of taking pictures and sharing them with everyone with the convenience of smartphones causes more harm and misunderstanding than clarity and knowledge about stories in the community. With this, people need to understand the basics of Phoneography to improve the craft of civic photojournalism.

Last March 18, SunStar Cagayan de Oro conducted a one-day Phoneography seminar at the Grand City Hotel from 9 am until 5 pm. About 25 participants attended the event which tapped the expertise of veteran journalist Victor Kintanar. Being Cebu's top photojournalist, Kintanar shared tips and tricks as well as simple things to place in my mind when clicking camera phones and posting them on the web.

According to him, when you take photos you should not be carried away by the emotions implied by your subject. Yet, you can also assume the feelings of your subject. Basically, the topic was all about what you should do, and what you should not do. Especially in news media, photography plays an important role as the public or the readers will more likely see the essential of the stories through photos.

"Some people today believe that just because you have say, a DSLR camera that is worth like almost millions of pesos, all your pictures will be perfect. It’s not like that. No matter what camera you hold, the quality of the pictures will always rely on the photographer, which is you. So it doesn't matter if you only have a smartphone, what matters is if you know what to take and how to capture it," Kintanar said.

Photos construct meaning from the images. With that, the viewers will also be able to examine, and extract meaning. As they say, sight comes before words. So, one must not betray the public trust. Simple honesty is integrity in the art of taking pictures.

Kintanar is a multi-awarded photojournalist since 1992. He has worked in multi-national media organizations such as such as the Associated Press (AP), European Press-Photo Agency (EPA), and The Independent Post. Today, he works as a photographer for and the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN).

The attendees of the seminar also experienced an actual picture-taking activity outside the venue. They were told to capture photos using their smart phones and make captions with them. Captions should not state what is the obvious. The visual literacy, the dos and don’ts when taking pictures should also be applied, in order to deeply understand and enjoy the masterworks of visual communication. In today’s marketplace, communication with others through photographs is an essential skill.

SunStar Cagayan is also holding a phoneography photo contest which started last Saturday, March 18. The deadline of submission will be on April 15. SunStar Cagayan de Oro will announce the winners on April 23.

The photo contest theme is focused on “Women in Cagayan de Oro”. So pack up now, look for your subject, examine, and click! Prizes await you!

Those who want to join the contest; you can read the mechanics on Sun Star Cagayan Facebook page and SunStar newspapers. Walk-ins are also welcome.

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