UConn’s Student Health and Wellness hosted an Innovate Wellness Photovoice Project Workshop last Tuesday, a space aimed at allowing students to share their opinions and points of view by taking pictures that relate to wellbeing and how it’s practiced on the University of Connecticut campus.
PhD student and Graduate Assistant Anna Young began the workshop by having participants share a picture that brings them peace, whether that be through difficult times in the pandemic or simply a daily boost of joy. Participants were then able to view each other’s photos and see what others viewed as supporting their wellbeing and share thoughts.
Young incorporated interactive activities throughout the workshop but also used the time to teach new vocabulary words and methods of successful photo taking. For example, the audience was taught the importance of composition and how to master it. “Composition is everything you see through the viewfinder,” she said. “Everything that you will photograph.”
If using a phone, the viewfinder is everything we see through our phone. If using a DSLR camera, it’s the tiny screen the photographer is looking through when photographing. When composing an image, the photographer is arranging elements in a way that suits the core idea or goal of the work. It can be done by moving a subject or object, or by changing the position of the camera.
An important aspect of photo taking is how one physically holds the camera, either vertically or horizontally. If there is a main subject in the photo, and the photographer deems nothing else is distracting from that main subject, it is recommended to hold the camera vertically, so the subject is the main part of the photograph with little background. When one wants the opposite, the camera should be positioned horizontally.
“If you want people to see the environment and create some sort of feeling, and show people in their natural habitat, that is when you would hold the camera horizontally. It’s also very common to do that if you want to show some sort of change or action, only because this is how we see things on a daily basis.”Anna Young, UConn PhD Student and Graduate Assistant.
Young explained that if someone squints their eyes, it’s as if they are seeing through a rectangular prism, which most closely resembles a horizontal frame. It can allow people to feel as if they are part of the photograph, and gives the photographer the ability to decide how much information they want to present the viewer and, ultimately, what story they want to tell.
There are numerous components that can contribute to a successful photo: leading lines, negative space, framing, light and more.
Young discourages from taking photos around noon during the summer because the sun is positioned directly above us. This creates harsh shadows that are not pleasing to the eye.
“The woman on the right has shadows underneath her eyes and under her nose. The shadows under her eyes are called ‘racoon eyes.’”Anna Young, UConn PhD Student and Graduate Assistant.
One can combat this by using natural light from a window that creates a softer atmosphere.
Photo submissions are now open for the Innovate Wellness Photovoice Project and close on February 11. Everyone is encouraged to submit, and there are no regulations regarding how many photos can be submitted for which prompts. Students can submit five photos for one prompt and none for the others, as combinations are up to the students.