March 12, 2008

From Behind the Lens

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Let’s face it, when you first open the paper in the morning, the first thing you do is look at the pictures. I mean, who wants to digest all of that text before your morning doubleshot? The photos make the paper more manageable at such an ungodly hour. You take a look at it, maybe read the caption and then decide whether or not you have the brainpower to delve into the rest of the story.

But what you don’t see is the hundreds of photos we went through before we picked that specific one to greet you first thing in the morning – the ones that didn’t make the cut. What you don’t read about is the story behind the photo from the photographer’s perspective: the time she got licked by a wolf just after clicking her shutter button, the inches of rain they waded through to get that Cross Country shot or the five-star gourmet meal he had to endure to capture some images to supplement an article. To us in the photo department, these war stories are the ultimate badge of honor and we thought it was due time to share them with you, dear reader.

As photographers, we have a unique perspective on each and every story that our photos complement. We see it from a different angle, from varying focal lengths, and we pay more attention to the little details than most. So while you are reading the story about a talk given by Bob Woodward, do you know he adjusts his glasses every few paragraphs? Or that Topher Scott has the most expressive face on the hockey team? We do. Thanks to our press passes and zoom lenses, we get up close and personal.

So we welcome you to our new, online home. We hope to use it to provide your eyes with a bit of respite from this mass of Times New Roman. We’ll share with you some nuggets of gold from our expansive archive – photos we’ve deemed worthy of an audience outside of our staff because they’ve left us laughing, crying, in awe or maybe all of the above at the same time. You’ll meet some of our staff, get a deeper look into the department and what goes into choosing the photos that make it into the print edition and see some of the fantastic photos that would otherwise be filed away to gather digital dust.

Most importantly, we want to provide you with a way to get to know what goes on behind the lens. We’ll keep actual text to a minimum save for those war stories, so there’s no need to break out the coffee. It’s photos from here on out – stay tuned!

Jennifer Vargas ’09 is the Photography Editor at The Sun. She can be contacted at jvargas@cornellsun.com. PHOTOsynthesis will appear periodically on CornellSun.com.