Interviewing New York Photo Journalist: Vonecia Carswell
Photojournalism (n.) – The collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast that creates images in order to tell a news story.
And while the photo above is most certainly not Ms. Carswell, but instead a photo of a photographer in action I captured while at the Pier, the one below is indeed Vonecia herself:
Upon walking into the Starbucks at 12pm sharp at Union that Sunday, I could spot Carswell towards the end of the shop. Munching on her Panera lunch, she seemed to be deep in thought. Of what, I wasn’t quite sure, but her pensive body language made approaching her feel as though my actions were moving in slow motion.
When I carefully tapped her on a shoulder moments later, she looked to have shifted from a stature of one deep in thought to that of warmth and high energy so effortlessly.
Things from there, photographs to interview, went wonderfully!
Provided below is our interview portion:
Alexandria (Interviewer) – Who are you, and where are you from and tell me a little about yourself.
Vonecia (Interviewee) – My name is Vonecia Carswell, and I’m from Tampa, Florida. I graduated in June from the University of Florida , with B.S. in Journalism, and minor in NPO Leadership.
A: What made you decide to move to New York?
V: Offered an internship which embed every thing that I loved, and I just went for it.
Plus, I never get to really travel, so that was motivator as well.
A: What does Photojournalism mean to you?
V: Capturing natural events as they happen. Things that tell a story. Capturing things which people aren’t really aware of; a different point of view.
To be honest, I’m still kind of exploring it myself.
A: Favorite camera/media device you’ve had the opportunity to work with?
V: The Canon 7D, even though it was only for a short while. I enjoyed using the 7D because it challenged me technologically. Over the past few years of using my own canon, I’ve become so complacent with my own camera. So, to advance to such a newly constructed device took things to a whole other level for me. I think we need to be constantly challenged ourselves in all things to grow and to learn.
A: What is your opinion on photo editing systems?
V: I definitely believe that the photographer should do everything in their power to capture a photo as naturally as possible.
I do believe we need photo editing, but not to the point where you can’t recognize the subject of the photo. You really just need to understand how to use them in the right way; to properly enhance.
And editing takes a while, so I would really encourage people to take the best photo they can in it’s natural state.
A: When did your venture into photography begin for you?
V: I’ve been doing photography since I was young.
When I was younger my grandmother had a camcorder and I loved recording family moments and being able to see life through the lens and have it played back to me.
In the 9th grade I jumped into photography.
In high school is where I truly began my journey in writing, and then I was able to get more into the visual aspect of the art. I guess I like to call my self a visual-journalist.
A: As a photographer, what questions do you feel you’re asked the most?
V: “How long have you been shooting?” that’s a typical question.
“What are your ideas for the shoot?”
I’m more of a go with the flow person, so that’s sometimes a bit difficult answer.
“What do you like to shoot?” That’s another one too! *laughs*
A: Throughout your experience/expertise in photographer, what is one of the most important things you’ve learned?
V: 1. Don’t be hesitant in capturing a moment because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
And no one else may be able to see that moment unless I capture it, so go for it!
In that sense I feel I’ve become a lot more bolder.
2. Connecting with your subject.
Finding a purpose within the photo; a photo shouldn’t really be taken in vain, it should tell a story.
How will this mean or effect other people?
A photo should have reason.
A: Are there any outside programs or charitable organizations you’re involved with?
V: The National Association of Black Journalists – The organization has helped me personally so much. It has introduced me to a lot of people in my field like mentors. It has given me opportunities to travel and participate in other programs and experiences I know I couldn’t have access to on my own.
More networking opportunities, friendships and so much more!
A: Where would you like your photography/journalism and writing to take you?
V: I’d love my art to take me in the direction and towards an online publication or magazine which helps to translates it’s meaning and contrast to it’s readers in an effective and positive way; being a vessel for others.