JRN 521 – Your Choice #1

As part of my “Your Choice Assignment #1,” I did a portrait series on student musicians. Through this part of the assignment, I decided to experiment with lighting on location and doing both unconventional and traditional portraitures. I wanted to showcase unified emotion and a similar theme throughout the entire series. I worked with six different musicians (all with different instruments) and below is my work from the week. (click on the image to enlarge it)

As a whole, I am really pleased with my portraiture series, but I believe I have done some better work with location lighting, yet I understand this is all a learning process; trail and error. I really struggled with trying to do a spotlight using a speedlight and a snoot, which was harder than I expected it to be. In addition, I wanted the work to all have the same feel/emotion with each image, which I feel I achieved while working with various spacial constraints from outdoors to a small personal practice room.


For the second part of my assignment, I covered The Swift Brother’s concert at Hunter’s Ale House on Friday, February 9, 2018. I did a set of a stills covering the concert/event and a video including interviews with the brothers to act as an introduction/promo for the music duo. Below is all my work from this section of my “Your Choice #1” assignment.

I am still learning how to do video effectively and professionally since I am still a beginner with Adobe Premiere Pro and shooting video. I am pretty pleased with my end result of this video for The Swift Brothers and I feel like I have learned a lot about shooting different angles, working with space and lighting provided, and making the most of everything you have for a strong end result.

Album of photos from the performance:

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Again, this was also a learning experience because shooting in Hunter’s is really difficult.There isn’t a pit for photographers and it is a bar/restaurant. The lighting isn’t prime and you have to work around the customers as well as the small stage area to not get redundant photos that still strongly showcase the event to its fullest. This is a different experience for shooting a concert because not all concerts are held in stadiums, arenas, festivals or music halls, and you have to work with the space provided.

{Total Hours of Work = 16}


JRN 521 – Seminar in News Photography Final Project Proposal

For one of my capstone courses this year at CMU, JRN 521 Seminar in News Photography, we are tasked with a semester-long final multimedia project (which will be the second one I am doing, because I have another of for my second capstone source lol). We had to write out our proposal for our piece and it was a lot to think about ahead of time, like the schedule and logistics, etc. These are things I usually don’t take the time planning and it is hard for me to plan without set/confirmed subjects or information.

Below is my concept/idea for my final proposal which will be posted in April!



In life, I believe that we all face challenges personally and from society. There is a huge rise in the challenge of dealing with rape culture and any type of sexual assault/harassment. My project will show this in action by exploring the #MeToo movement and working with those who are survivors and might have PTSD from these assaults.  Ultimately, I want the audience to feel connected to the subjects at hand and connected to the issue, and understand that this is an issue in today’s society and on our college campus, people need to be more open to the discussion of rape culture and not be so synthesized to it.

Provide the who, what, where, why and how:

WHO: I will try to work with SAPA and other organizations. I also have connections to survivors, but I don’t want to state their names at this time because I haven’t gotten full approval from them yet.

WHAT: #MeToo and Rape Culture

WHERE: In Michigan and mainly at CMU

WHY: I am a survivor of sexual assault and I hate how limited discussions on this topic are and I want to really show that it can happen to ALL people, it is not a women’s only issue.

HOW: Photos, video, poll/survey and graphics of data



Write a concise paragraph about:

Again, the subject of my project is to explore in a deeper level the topic of the #MeToo movement and rape culture on campus and in Michigan. I am working on getting approval from all potential subjects for the assignment and I want to work with SAPA and interview them and their work on the topic locally. The audience will need to understand the definition of rape culture, how students define consent, that this is a trigging subject so be aware when reading, and the start and rise of #MeToo.



  1. what are the activities
    1. Quick interviews with students at bars about consent
    2. Interviews with survivors and SAPA
    3. Footage of SAPA working??
    4. Police interaction???
    5. Images of reports (gain access, and blur out names)
    6. Photographs of survivors, to show there is no set type of victim
  2. the expected structure of events – UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME
  3. how the activity may contribute to the whole project – UNSURE HOW TO ANSWER WITHOUT BEING REPETITIVE, LOOK AT SECTIONS 1-2???



Possible Subject 1:

  1. a) who: Brianne Twiddy
  2. b) where (where does this person belong in the scheme of things): She would Br able to share her story for the video and to photograph.
  3. c) what (what is the subject’s role, what makes the subject interesting, significant?): Brianne is a survivor of assault and she is semi-open about the topic, but I have a built strong communication with her and believe her story would be great to add.


Possible Subject 2:

  1. a) who: SAPA Representative (preferably two, male and female)
  2. b) where (where does this person belong in the scheme of things): Insight on rape culture and this issue, good interviews.
  3. c) what (what is the subject’s role, what makes the subject interesting, significant?): Inform about resources, data, what they have witnessed (if allowed), etc.


Possible Subject 3:

STILL IN SEARCH. Another Survivor of rape or sexual assault/harassment (preferably have three total; all races and genders).


Subject 4:

Community members and their opinions on consent, rape culture, and this issue on campus. They will be respondents for polls and parts of the video.



For each interview list:

  1. Survivors – to share story
  2. SAPA – information on sexual assault
  3. Community Members
  4. Police??


Write a brief paragraph on how you hope to structure your project. Consider:

This is really hard to think about at this stage. Currently, my first step is gathering subjects, obtaining background information on the topic and gaining necessary access (what access do I need). Thinking about the final end result is really difficult, but right now I see the package structure opening with the video, then text, then photos and polls, then more text and graphics, and text again, and then helplines and links (so that the audience can then act after reading). This is really just a general idea.


Shooting schedule



Write a paragraph about how you imagine your piece will impact your viewers

I hope this piece with help the discussion of sexual assault and help survivors/viewers, fell open to voice their #MeToo to build report on the issue. I also hope this piece will help viewers learn they aren’t alone, how big of and issue this is, and service/help provided that they might not have known about previously.

The World of Music Photography with Maclay Heriot

This past week I got to interview Australian music photographer, Maclay Heriot for my JRN 521 seminar course and learn more about working as a photographer in the music industry. Below is the paper I had to write for my course and a few samples of Maclay Heriot’s work. Thank you, Maclay, for talking with me and inspiring me with your words.

Maclay Heriot

Follow Maclay Heriot on Instagram: @maclayheriot

“When a little bird sings soft and low in your ear, you should listen. Maclay Heriot is a photographer to watch. He prefers film to digital. He gets to go backstage and inside the lives, your favourite musicians lead…”

 – Sally Quade in an article with the publication, Monster Children on Oct. 21st, 2014.


Since April 2017 I have developed a passion to hopefully pursue a future career in music and concert photography after photographing the DNCE concert on Central Michigan’s campus. With the increased interest in music photography, I have been adding famous and top rising music photographers on Instagram, to follow and study their work, during this research I came upon the work of Australian freelance music photographer, Maclay Heriot. Heriot’s work struck me immediately as genuine and almost surreal images of the artists he worked with and I knew I wanted to understand more about his career and why he photographs the music world the way he does.

Maclay Heriot currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Heriot has been working in concert photography for around 7 plus years. Growing up around music by being in a band himself and having an Uncle who was in a band, Heriot was naturally drawn to the music scene. In the beginning of his career, Heriot worked closely with Australia music photographer Sophie Howard. Heriot heard Howard speak on Triple J radio and emailed her, he got a response 8-9 months later asking if Heriot wanted to work with her in Sydney, helping with her reshoots for her book of news on the road covering 16 years of touring. During this 2-year period, Heriot gained advice and tips on how to grow in the field and learn how to advance his own skill set. In addition, working with Howard provided Heriot with his first access to bands and concerts, while on tour with Howard. Heriot relates to that of a struggling artist since he paid his own way to go on tour, he worked for free for a long time and for years slept on the couches of friends and family, all in pursuing his photography career. Since his start, Heriot has worked with bands such as Portugal, The Man (American rock band) and Jagwar Ma (Australian psychedelic dance band), as well as shooting festivals such as the Australian music festival, Big Day Out and American festival, Lollapalooza. When talking about his growth in his career, Heriot stated, “It’s just putting yourself out there and chase it. Don’t get bummed if it doesn’t happen right away, just be persistent…You just have to be committed and keep doing your thing.

Heriot started photography with film and today about 99% of his work is still made on film, as stated by Heriot himself. He stated that “photography was a trade you had to learn and that takes a while…” and that it doesn’t happen overnight. I think a really admirable quality about Heriot is that he understands working in photography you have to realize that “it is all about adaptation to the times and that you have to be fresh (with your work), not getting caught up in the times.” I love that Heriot still works in film and makes such stunning images despite being criticized by peers at times for his choice of equipment. This reminds me that it is not the camera that makes the photographer, but the skill set and the knowledge of the trade. I think this is a huge merit of Heriot’s work because it shows he cares more about capturing the moment then about having the best technology. In addition, the use of film provides a surrealist feel to Heriot’s work and this is one of the main things that allows Heriot’s work to stand out from the rest.

Another aspect of Heriot’s music photography that impresses me is that he likes to work behind the scenes just as much if not more than shooting in the front of the stage. In a bio video on his website, he states, “I like being a fly on the wall and just capturing an authentic, classic moment.” His take on photography and what makes a photo worthy is similar to that of my professor here at Central Michigan, Kent Miller, whom I admire greatly. After talking more with Heriot, I learned that he likes to shoot outside rather than in the studio and just let the connection between him and artists be natural, almost like the camera is not there. He photographs because of his passion and his desire to capture the true moments, it shows a great authenticity with his work. His style of photography is similar to the way he communicates with people and prefers the work to natural and unplanned. In addition, while making money is important for living, Heriot works freelance and for years worked without pay, showing true dedication to the craft, not the fame or the monetary value of it.



I wouldn’t say that Heriot is worldwide famous but he is well-known in the music photography field and he is considered a rising photographer. Heriot states that his ability to have become well-known by his peers and musicians is all about making connections and “all about relationships.” Heriot drew support from his friends in local bands in Australia and from there he also made connections with other bands and important people during his work with “Big Day Out” and through the access he received from the magazine Drum Media. Heriot states that he always just put himself in places where the people he wanted to meet would be, he advises and emphasizes making circles and networking to help new photographers in building a future career. Lastly, I do not know if Heriot’s work would have really affected social change in the world or his community because he isn’t shooting hard-hitting journalism, but he is influential to me personally with his commitment to his field and how well he has persevered through his own personal struggles to make a career for himself in something that he loves. Learning from Heriot and hearing his perspective on how to achieve your goals was extremely significant to me and has helped me realize how I can no go about reaching my dreams as a music photographer, plus I feel like everything he has said is like the perfect advise to give to both student and aspiring photographers.

            “Don’t let other’s opinion turn you off what you want to do.” – Maclay Heriot

Danny Wilcox Fraizer Workshop; “Fault Line: A Nation Divided”

During October 21-30th I was apart of an intensive documentary photography workshop with renowned photographer, Danny Wilcox Fraizer, at Central Michigan University. This workshop was titled “Fault Line: A Nation Divided,” and focused on exploring what has caused our society in the U.S. to be polarized and divided and communities that are working to build unity. Below is my story (which was finalized by myself, Danny Wilcox Fraizer, Kent Miller and a group of peers). There will be another post later explaining my experience, so look out for that. Enjoy!!

P.S. Thank you so much to the community of Mack Avenue Community Church for allowing me into your lives during this week, I am truly grateful.

Listen to this song while viewing photostory, it was presented to the public on the 30th with this audio addition. The song is sung in the Chruch during worship: “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins. This song was my inspiration for the mood and message of this photostory.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_UE7xgNOzM

“Going Block to Block, Neighbor by Neighbor”

Executive Pastor, Leon Stevenson, prays during his personal time in the sanctuary at Mack Avenue Community Church in Detroit on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.

On Saint Louis Street in Detroit resides Mack Alive, a community-based organization to help the East Detroit neighborhoods and citizens.

Executive Pastor, Leon Stevenson (center, green), addresses the Mack Avenue Community Church congregation about working together as a community to help each other succeed during the MACC Harvest Festival in Detroit, on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

The Egger Family, (left to right) Kristin (mother), Hazel (10 months), Silas (3 years), Dietrich (5 years), and Nate (father),gather together on the couch in their home in East Detroit after the kids got home from school on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. The Egger family has five children, three biological and two adopted.

Edythe Ford stands in her kitchen, that she is repairing, in her home in East Detroit on Friday, October 27, 2017. Edythe was awarded the Spirit of Detroit Award for her contributions and outreach in the community and neighborhood.

The Egger Family, (Clockwise) Kristin, Dietrich (10 months), Aoife (8 years), Nate, Hazel (10 months), Adelaide (7 years), and Silas (3 years) gather hands for prayer before dinner on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

The congregation of Mack Avenue Community Church participates in worship by signing songs before Sunday service begins on Sunday, October 22, 2017.

(left to right) Aoife (8 years), Kristin, Silas (3 years), Nate, Dietrich (5 years), and Adelaide (7 years) listen to “Fly Guy” before reading a passage from the Bible in preparation of bedtime in their home in East Detroit, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

(right to left) Kristin Egger sings “My Little Sunshine” to her daughter Hazel  (10 months) after her nightly ritual before laying her to sleep on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Hazel was born prematurely and has problems keeping food down, she has a tube in her stomach to help with feeding and has to go through breathing treatments as well.

Children participants of MACC Sports warm up before the final soccer games in Pingry Park in East Detroit on Saturday, October 28, 2017. MACC Sports is apart of the MACC Development, one of the many ways Mack Avenue Community Church engages with the neighborhood community and racial reconciliation.

The community of MACC is centered in East Detroit off Mack Avenue. The church works to build connectivity between residents of Pingry Park and Indian Villiage. While areas in East Detroit are starting to improve in living conditions, there are still parts that battle blight and abandonment.

Eydthe Ford leaves a neighbors house after a spontaneous visit while Edythe was out for a walk, on Friday, October 27, 2017. Edythe goes out around the neighborhood and takes photos of houses and yards that are falling apart or in need of repair, during her “Click, Send, Fix” initiative for the community.

Nate Egger brushes son, Silas’ (3 years) teeth before bedtime while daughter, Adelaide (7 years) and son, Dietrich (5 years) act silly behind him, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

Edythe Ford (left) and Paris Randolph (right) sit together in Randolph’s house in East Detroit during a spontaneous visit on Friday, October 27, 2017.

MACC Development also has a youth division, focusing on their young children in the neighborhood and their academics. During this time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, children in the neighborhood come together for afterschool for bible study, physical activity, and academic tutoring.This is one of the many ways Mack Avenue Community Church engages with the neighborhood community and racial reconciliation.

(left to right) Dietrich (5 years), Silas (3 years), Nate Egger (father), and Aoife (8 years), gather around the “Donut on a String” activity during the MACC Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 21, 2017. The Harvest Festival was an initiative to bring the community and church members together for a family-friendly event and racial reconciliation.

*This photo essay was apart of a documentary photography workshop with renowned photographer, Danny Wilcox Fraizer, titled “Fault Line: A Nation Divided”*

Mack Avenue Community Church, located on the corner of Mack Avenue and Harding Street in East Detroit is a staple in the community. MACC works to build racial reconciliation in the community under the influence of God and  one of their mottos, “Block by Block, Neighbor by Neighbor.”

MACC is lead by two pastors, Executive Pastor and Pastor of Community Development, Leon Stevenson, and Lead Pastor, Eric Russ. They are also assisted by a group of Church Elders and a Director of Operations. MACC Vision Statment is, “seeing communities transformed both spiritually and physically starting with our own.”

MACC also hosts 5 Ministries, including outReach Detroit, MACC Groups, MACC Development, MACC Youth, and MACC Kids. outReach Detroit is described as (from their website), “Outreach is an expression of Christian (followers of Jesus Christ) servants caring for others with intentionality so that those who live in the city of Detroit may experience true life.” MACC works to build opportunities for children, the community members, and church members to grow individually and as a group both spiritually and physically.

Members of MACC that truly stand out for their outreach and acts by the word of the Bible are the Egger Family and Edythe Ford.

The Egger family has 5 children, 3 biological and 2 adopted. When asked why the need to adopt, Kristin Egger states, “It is a three-fold reason:”

1. Because of Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed; Take up the cause of the orphan; plead the case of the widow.” and the Eggers state that they view this as a commandment by God. 2. They witnessed children in really poor foster homes in their neighborhood and wanted to help give them more opportunities. 3. Before they were married, both Nate and Kristin Egger wanted to adopt.

Edythe Ford was awarded the 2017 Spirit of Detroit award along with two other recognitions from the City of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department for her active work in making sure the community and neighborhood are safe and in good living conditions.

Mack Avenue Community Church is a bring the Church back into the active lives of the neighborhood and community. They are working with all people of all races to build unity and show the strength and hope that lives within Detroit.

DNCE Concert at Central Michigan Univeristy 2017

I have FINALLY gotten around to posting, writing and sharing my experience photographing the DNCE concert at Central Michigan University this past April during my internship with University Communications.

Working this show was the first time I felt alive again when shooting. I got a euphoric feeling photographing the concert and I realized what I wanted to do with my degree and in the field as a photojournalist. I want to shoot music, from concerts and festivals to studio work with bands/artists for a publication.

This was probably my favorite experience from my internship and the first time I felt like I had what it took to be a photographer. I knew nothing about shooting a concert, I just read things on the internet from professionals and then went out. It was a rush working this show. I had three cameras, a small area to work, 4 other student photographers, and Joe Jonas running all over the stage. It was AMAZING! I believe these were the best photos I have ever taken and I am beyond proud of my work from this event.

This is my calling. I want to be a music photographer, I just need more practice and more chances to gain experience. Below are my best photos from the concert. You can also find these on my Instagram @alisonzywickiphotography or on the Central Michigan University Facebook page under photo albums.

ENJOY!!! (Criqutes and feedback are always appreciated)


DNCE performs at the Central Michigan University spring concert Friday, April 21, 2017

Cord Overstreet performing his opening act for the DNCE concert at Central Michigan University

DNCE performs at Central Michigan University for the spring concert on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Cord Overstreet performs as the opening act for DNCE at Central Michigan University for their Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 2017

JinJoo Lee (left) and Joe Jonas (right) of DNCE performed for CMU’S Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 2017.

DNCE performed for CMU’S Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 201

Crowd of Central Michigan student sing along with DNCE during their performance for CMU’S Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 201

My Internship With University Communitions This Past Spring

Wow, I cannot believe that last semester I had an internship of a lifetime. I hope I can get the chance to continue working with University Communications, but if not I still wanted to share my experience.

This past spring semester was actually a hard one for me. I struggled a lot with my self, personal issues, school, etc. Yet, I got this amazing opportunity to work as a photography intern with Central Michigan’s Communications Department under the instruction, guidance, and mentorship of Steve Jessmore. You literally could not ask for a better experience than this as a photojournalism student at CMU.

With this position, I got to grow little by little as a photojournalist, ignite my passion more, and learn a lot about myself and my potential. I will be honest and say I don’t believe I gave 110% of myself when holding this position due to my struggles during the semester, but I did grow a lot.

I got to photography things I would have never dreamed of getting the chance to photograph. DNCE (in another blog post), Laverne Cox, CMU’s President Ross, a Pan-African Fashion Show, and more, these are just a taste of what it is like to hold this internship.

I learned how to expand my eye when shooting, leave the front and head to the back of a room to get a wide shot of the crowd or a full photo of the scene. Go behind the speakers or below, looking up, to get different angles. I learned to not just shoot and shoot and shoot. I am not paparazzi. Photojournalists wait for moments, they wait for drama, action, excitement, etc. We show emotion through our work and want to bring the viewers into the scene, making it feel like they were actually there, while accurately depicting what occurred.

I will admit, I was not the best one of the group at first, or even at the end, but I grew. I learned from my mistakes and listened to my critiques. I was told that I need to just be constantly taking photos, every day, of anything because there is always something occurring. This was the one tip I never fully applied though, because with my Resident Assistant position, classes, sorority, personal issues, etc, I thought I wouldn’t be able to. This was just me holding myself back. I have a little bit of free time every day, even if it is just for 10-20 minutes, it is experience, practice, and growth. I have to learn how to find stories with out an assignment now and I will be fully applying this advice this semester, I wish I just fully listened and realized this before. Don’t make my mistake and remember you are a photographer always.

I do really believe I got some of my best collegiate work during my internship with University Communications. I can only go up from here. Below are some of my favorite photos from some of my favorite shoots/events.

Enjoy! (plus, sorry this post was super late in comparison to when I had the internship, lol.)

-Check out my photos from DNCE in another post!!-

Laverne Cox – CMU Speaker Series 

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

Audience cheers as Laverne Cox walked on stage before her speech with the CMU Speakers Series.

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.


Annual Meet President Ross, Hosted by the International Student Organization

International Student Organization hosted the annual Meet the President with President Ross in the Park Library Auditorium, on the campus of Central Michigan University.

International Student Organization hosted the annual Meet the President with President Ross in the Park Library Auditorium, on the campus of Central Michigan University


Lize-Sized Board Game Event for an RPL Class

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Hungry Hungry Hippo during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Jenga during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.


Annual Griffin Forum

Five state political leaders — including U.S. Sen. Gary Peters — shared their perspectives on how citizens can make a difference in today’s polarizing political climate at the Griffin Policy Forum. – Caption provided by Central Michigan University Communications


Girls on the Run 5k 2017

For the past two years, I have been a volunteer photographer with Girls on the Run of Central Michigan. This non-profit works to teach girls in elementary and middle school self-confidence and self-love, all while training to run a 5k. This year was an amazing experience for me, the Director of GOTR referred to me as the professional photographer. It just felt job to have her recognize my work and treat me as a professional, not just a student. I also grew from the experience this year and I learned how to shoot action shots, find moments, and work with large groups of people for portraits. I had a blast. This is definitely another aspect of photography/photojournalism that I am growing an interest in and it only increased my passion for this career.

Below are some of my favorites from the day. Sorry, this post was made late since the 5k was in May. Enjoy!