College Photographer. Knox Alum. Young Photojournalist.

Admiration for Scott Strazzante


A few months ago I was looking to start a mentorship with someone in the midwest. I looked through the listings on the NPPA website and found a few that seemed to my liking. I soon started to look at their work to see if I could learn from them and that they did similar assignments as myself (sports, regular news, stuff like that). Then I happened on the talented Scott Strazzante.

Scott works at the Chicago Tribune and has been there for many years. A large amount of his work comes from shooting sports as well as street photography. As you most likely know, I love shooting sports, so the chance to be a mentor would certainly be a good fit. Street Photography? Thats a different story. I’m going to be honest and say, it never really struck a note with me. Never could seem to get myself to try it and a lot of street photography was less than interesting when I viewed it. This all changed when I happened upon his blog. The vividness of his shots, the emotion and sense of vulnerability of the subjects just radiated from his work. This facinated me. I think I spent a few hours just going back into the archives of his blog not being able to turn away from his site.

What really stuck and made it a goal of mine to attempt to get him to mentor me was a project of his I happened upon in December (and re-seen today, sparking this blog post.) His project Common Ground struck a note with me. It made me really enjoy photojournalism and gave me a lift in spirit. Every day there is some news about how this field is struggling, or how I will undoubtedly struggle to find a job when going up against a J-School graduate. But viewing this project was another boost and solidifier that I want/will go into this profession and that I am going to put my full effort in reaching this goal.

So here I present his project for your viewing enjoyment.

The American family farm gives way to a subdivision – a critical cultural shift across the U.S. Common Ground is a 14-year document of this transition, through the Cagwins and the Grabenhofers, two families who love the same plot of land. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/publication/common-ground

This project reminded me of the work of Archie Lieberman, who taught at Knox College, and his project Farm Boy. I emulated his work my freshman year in a photo project for my Photojournalism class. This project was near and dear to me since I grew up with a bit of farm life in my blood and my family has a long history of working on a farm. The photo gallery below is the photos I produced in the project (which one photo won me an Finalist award from Photographers Forum’s Best of College Photography contest).

http://john-williams-photography.com/publish_to_web/soundslider.swf?size=2&format=xml&embed_width=460&embed_height=373

Lucky for me Scott found time in his busy life to mentor me. As of right now, not much has happened, but he has given me some things to work on for this up and coming baseball season, so we will see what comes of the challenges.

I hope this look at Scott’s work will inspire you as it has for me. Now only if there were a few million more people in Galesburg so an hour street photography excursion would yield even 1/100th of what Scott can do in 15 minutes wondering the streets of Chicago.

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