Sierra College Photojournalism class paves way for future photographers

By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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Professor Randy Snook teaches a class at Sierra College that makes it possible for young photographers to gain hands on experience and instructional knowledge to become a professional photographer.

The class ‘Photojournalism Field Workshop’ description in the online syllabus at Sierra describes the classes learning outcomes as:

Assessing the legal and ethical issues surrounding photojournalism. Utilizing photographic equipment and techniques commonly employed in photojournalism and creating professional portfolios just to name a few. The class is a separate 0.5 units of credit as it encompasses only 13 hours over the entire semester, focusing on one single event for the students to capture on film. Snook has been teaching this class for over 10 years.

“Every time I do this class, it is an amazing experience,” Snook said. “The way the class is structured is that we meet on a Friday night and spend three hours discussing how to document an major events as a team. Quite a bit of time is spent on how to write captions for a newspaper or news outlet,” Snook said. “Most of the students are more advanced, but there is no pre-requisite so some students come into the class with limited photographic knowledge and it acts as an introduction into our department.”

Snook also said students go on to learn how to approach individuals and small groups; while gathering names and the necessary information to write captions for print media and other forms of media to be published.

For the classes major field workshop event this semester, they took a field trip to the annual Sikh Festival held in Yuba City.

Professor Snook told Gold Country Media he is very proud of the course he is allowed to teach; that this event was a cornerstone for each of the students on their way to becoming photographers. “Students are not only required to document the event photographically, but have to interview at least one individual at the event about why they are participating; or about the Sikh religion itself,” Snook explained.

“Students almost always have an amazing experience, mainly due to the incredible graciousness of the Sikh people. They also learn how difficult photojournalism is, how to relate to people that are different than they are, and the value of learning about another culture.”