New York photography trip lets students explore career paths


Webster University photography professor and program facilitator Bill Barrett took 10 photography students to New York, what Barrett says is one of the world’s centers of photographic activity.

“My goal is to teach the students about the working world of that photography,” Barrett said. “I want students to meet with professional photographers and go to the studios they work at, I want them to see the size of the professional world that they would not know about otherwise.”

Root Studios is a world renowned New York studio and is 18 thousand square feet. It is open 24 hours and rents in-house motion and digital equipment.

Webster Junior Aly Camacho is a photography major and said she was really impressed with Root Studios.

“The studio was so beautiful,” Camacho said. “It was cool to see all the famous people who have been through there.”

Senior Julia Peschel is a Media Communications student. She said she could not believe the experience the places they were going and the people they were meeting.  

Peschel said the travel opportunities Webster offers is one the best things the school has for its students.

“I got to study abroad in Geneva back in 2016, and now I got to go to New York for a class,” Peschel said. “It’s just incredible.”

The PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York is the largest photography and imaging event in North America. It features over 100 educational seminars, exhibitions and sales booths. There are special filmmaking and drone sessions. Two hundred exhibitors showcase thousands of pieces of equipment there every year.

One of the most memorable things Peschel said she got to do was see originals of one of her favorite artist.

Ansel Adams is considered the most influential landscape photography artist of the 20th century, who created the “zone system” of  photography development using different shades of black, white and greys. Adams has won several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.

“‘Are we really standing in a room with 14 original Ansel Adams prints?’”  Peschel said.

 “’Well yeah, this is New York,’” Barrett replied. 

Camacho only took 35 millimeter film on the trip saying there is a big difference between film and digital. On this trip, Camacho wanted to catch these moments on film.

“We got to shoot pictures of Central Park, although, I mostly enjoyed my shots of Chinatown,” Camacho said. “We got to see so many cool things. The weather was cold, but it was worth it.”

Barrett is from New York and said this experience can open doors for the students.

“It is nice for the students to get out in the real world and learn first-hand how the business operates in the real world,” Barrett said. “There are dozens of studios in New York that professionals rent equipment from. I wanted to show them that.”

Another meaningful moment for Peschel, she said, was getting to hear photojournalist Lynsey Addario talk about her work and then meeting her.

Addario has received numerous international awards.  The American Photo Magazine named Addario one of the five most influential photographers of the last 25 years. Addario is a regular contributor to the “The New York Times”, “National Geographic,” and “TIME Magazine.” 

Peschel had read one of Addario’s books and said she enjoyed meeting Addario.

“Addario has been my biggest idol in the photojournalism world,”  Peschel said. “It’s inspiring to see a woman photographer flourish in what is still such a male dominated field. Her work in African and Middle Eastern countries and especially her work on maternal health in these areas is really moving.  Addario’s work is something the world needs to see.”

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