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one year photojournalism certificate at ICP?

dennis ho , Feb 22, 2003; 11:50 a.m.

has anyone heard anything about the One Year Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Certificate Program at the ICP? do you think it would be an aid in getting a job? how necessary is a bachelors degree to get a foot in the door in this field? any other suggestions on possibilities for PJ training?

thanks ahead!



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Fredrik Renander , Feb 22, 2003; 04:43 p.m.

My experience is that education doesn't matter much when looking for a job as a PJ. If you can learn things and develope your skills while attending a program, thats good! But education just for the sake of it is no good idea. You can also improve very well without spending ten thousands of dollars on a school.

You will make a bigger impression on an employer with a good portfolio than a diploma of some sort. What counts is your portfolio, your earlier experiences and how they feel about you. Thats what I believe. I just landed a pretty good PJ job and I have 0 hours of education. They didn't even ask about it.

Attend a program if you believe it will give you something you can't get otherwise. Or if you don't have the drive to push yourself if there are no people around telling you what to do. But don't expect that a degree alone will make the employers line up to offer you a job.

Good Luck!

James Phillips , Feb 22, 2003; 05:23 p.m.

This is a fine, fine response. Probably the truest you will find.

Eileen Ergas , Feb 22, 2003; 06:49 p.m.

Oddly enough, I came home about an hour ago after attending the first day of a two weekend workshop on lighting at icp. I agree with the above, you should not just do a program just for the sake of it, your portfolio is what matters most regardless of what your educational backround is. What is great about icp is that you do not have to be in a program in order to take classes there. Their classes are truly wonderful. Maybe a route you can take is to intern at a newspaper or magazine and take free lance classes there in the evenings or the weekends. Bottom line is, if you take a class or a job, you should do it for your own fulfillment and desire/need to learn, not so that it will look impressive on a resume.

Michael King , Feb 22, 2003; 09:36 p.m.

I've got to agree that your portfolio is one of the most critical aspects when it comes to being hired by a newspaper or other venue for your photographs.

HOWEVER: I check job postings for full time jobs and internships very frequently, and have noticed a huge increase in the number of postings that require, request, or reccomend that you have a degree from a 4-yr institution of higher learning (and 9 times out of 10 with a degree in journalism or photojournalism).

I personally find this important. Newspapers want photographers who can do more than just trip the shutter. Photojournalists must write captions, communicate and cooperate with people in their community and their working environment on a daily basis. They are held to a professional standard just like everyone else at a newspaper.

Proper english (or whatever language your newspaper publishes in) and professional conduct are just as critical to your success as a photojournalist as is your portfolio.

Just something to consider!



Yance Marti , Feb 23, 2003; 12:33 a.m.

Yes for most major dailies and other higher paying PJ jobs you will need a 4-year degree, any degree will do it doesn't even have to be photography. Of course you also have to have an impeccable portfolio too.

H. P. , Feb 23, 2003; 12:08 p.m.

It all seems very strange. I became a photojournalist just by going out and taking photos and writing stories. I ended up as editor on a small newspaper and at the same time was developing my career as an applications programmer.

Every time I've tried to get onto a course for anything I've been told that either I'm over-qualified or that I don't have the right academic background. I find that amusing as I've been a lecturer at a college of further education and written several courses on programming. After a while I realised that these people just weren't on the same wavelength as me and gave up.

If you really want to be a photojournalist, start by doing the simple jobs - covering jumble sales and local political meetings and sending the stuff in on spec. You'll be amazed how often local papers will be happy to use your stuff *IF* it's properly presented. How to know what's proper presentation? Read the paper and then aim to produce that quality or better. If you're really suited to the business, you'll soon start to sniff out markets and build a reputation. If you're not suited to the business, no amount of 'edikashun' will help you - find something you are suited to and keep the camera/word processor for weekends.

james megargee , Mar 01, 2003; 10:54 a.m.

It is true that you do not require a degree to enter into any field in photography. But you do need an education. Meaning that you should be aware of at least the minimum requirements of what is expected of you when working in this field. As was mentioned - do you know how to write a proper caption, do you know how to put together a PJ portfolio, etc? You could do worst with your time than spending a year studying at ICP in NYC. If nothing else it would introduce you to a number of working professionals and assist you in making initial contacts in the field. Having a great portfolio is really not enough if it is not being shown to the right person who can really do something for you.

JLee -- , Mar 06, 2003; 09:49 a.m.

Dennis, You've got some good answers here. There is little doubt that your porfolio and communication skills are what matters most. Just thought I tell you about my experience at returning to school for a PJ degree. I already have one degree from a reputable college in another field but have returned to West. Ky U to study photojournalism. The experience of being immersed in this profession every day is proving very valuable to my photography and story telling abilities. This is much like participating in a daily workshop where interaction with other photographers forces me to stretch in my photography. The projects we undertake, the friendly competition, the networking available, constant critique, and even the courses on everything from lighting to photo stories, are time proven for developing good PJs. Our graduates are regularly rewarded for all the hard work. Photo editors know they are getting graduates who are well trained to work in the field. So, I agree that you shouldn't return to school for the sake of the degree. However, if you think that a course program will improve your skills, and they usually do, go for it. Good Shooting, JLee

Geoff Wedge , Mar 09, 2003; 07:58 p.m.

I am in the same situation as you. And have been thinking of taking up a course run by the national council for the training of journalists. I am 19 years old and have been really confused as to what i should do next year after my art and design course specialising in photography. should i do a degree? should i start training? college is expensive and work u get paid. My head had been so confused and to top it all off I have been told that the idustry is in turmoil and nobody wants documentary style photographs. What i have decided to do though i think is to complete a 3 year course in documentary and fine art photography I have a passion for photography and am just going to let the road take me where i need to be, so what if i run into debt. after all we only live once, ill learn so much, make contacts, then after my degree, ill only be 22, then ill start training, if i still want to be a photojournalist. i might end up teaching photography with the degree part time which is good money whilst completing my own documentary photographs in my spare time. who knows. Just think to yourself. if your going to become a photojournalist, you still may have to run after celebreties but this does bring in the money. im sorry if ive confused you all. what i am trying to say is, maybe you should follow your heart or pack it in all together. gmwphotography@talk21.com email me, i think im confused aswell,lol.

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