Alyssa Burkett » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Apr 262013

Photograph copyright Alyssa Burkett

We Were There
My favorite part of being a photographer is the people I get to know and when I am given the ability to portray them within a single frame. Throughout my college career I have learned what I’m good at and have tried to improve in that area. Event photography and band photography is what I plan on pursuing. The photo that I chose to display here is an example of a photo-shoot I had with a band recently. They go by “We Were There” and describe themselves as ‘PeopleCore’ with many punk rock influences. They’re overall a happy group of young guys and try to let people know it right off the bat. Through this photo I tried to capture their lightheartedness and togetherness. I added contrast to the photo because of their grungy and colorful outlook as a musical group.

When I was taking the photo I had a few problems with the lighting because it was mid day and I had very little to work with. By trying to get them all into the shadows of this abandoned building the lighting situation improved. In order to capture the image with my Canon Rebel T2i, I used my 18 mm kit lens with a shutter speed of 1/800 of a sec and an f-stop of 4.5. I was using a UV protection filter and a darkening filter. I didn’t use any special post processing techniques other than playing with the contrast and lighting.

I am studying Photojournalism and Documentary Studies at NAU. I hope to capture thought provoking images of actions and events. I also have a passion for live music which plays into my photography as well. As a photographer I have done everything from Wedding Photos to Portraits and Concerts. I have been part of the Campus Paper as the A&E Photo Editor and I have documented events for the Campus Radio Station.

My favorite subjects to capture are usually musicians when they are not always playing music. Creative people tend to have a spark that’s easy to capture on camera and are a lot of fun to be around. I try not to use too much equipment when I’m taking candid or event photos because it takes away from the moment. I have started to enjoy using a flash though.

I would say my work is different from others because of the style. It’s not always clean and occasionally this makes people dislike a photo but I see it as being truthful. One of my goals as a photographer is to only ever display the truth in an image. My inspirations are limitless. Family, friends, famous photographers. There are countless people that play a role in what I do but I think my biggest inspiration is the music that I listen to.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at