The impact of empty shelves at the University of Denver Bookstore



Written Reflection

My slideshow aims to walk the audience through the impact of University of Denver’s bookstore not having enough textbooks for student’s classes. First they are introduced the bookstore itself, and then when they enter inside they see the empty shelves. Students search for their textbooks but found order forms instead. I wanted to show the audience that some students were still able to buy their books and their readings and course work was not impacted.

After the brief intro which shows the missing books, I try to demonstrate the impact it had on the students that weren’t fortunate enough to get all their course books. Pictures of students with back order forms show that book still need to be ordered. Then a picture of a student reading with a caption below shows the catch up work that must be done due to the missing books. Next I aim to show how students have turned to Amazon to start getting their books, because books are cheaper, shipping is faster, and books are always in stock. Finally to show the full effect I conclude the slide show with a picture of a failing reading quiz, a fate that students such as Jens Olsen came across due to the fact he was unable to do his readings.

I knew that I wanted to photograph the empty shelves first and foremost so viewers could see for themselves the absence of books in the store. Next I got a student who was unable to get his books so the readers could see some of the people being impacted. Next I knew I had to keep the piece fair and balanced so I show students purchasing books from the store, and then a student reading who was unaffected by the shortage, because all of his books were in stock. I thought these photos were important to qualify that some students were able to get all the books they needed. The story quickly became about students turning to Amazon so they could ensure they got their books in a cheap and timely manner. So that inspired the browsing of the internet and the screenshots of the two companies websites. Finally and most importantly I wanted to capture how student’s grades were impacted so I took the picture o the failed reading quiz.

The photograph process went well. When I first went in to get picture of the empty shelves I didn’t get many with people in them. If I went back I would try and focus more on including people in almost every shot. The one thing I think I need to improve on the most and have been getting better at each time I took a new photo was not being nervous taking pictures of people in public. At times it felt unsettling, but luckily I feel with repetition and after taking more photos this feeling will fade, and taking photos of people will become more comfortable. I also know why you put so much emphasis on taking numerous photos. After selecting photos I realized how few of the many photos I took that I actually liked. I will definitely take more photos next time just to make sure I get the shot I’m looking for. I chose to include the photos I did, because I thought they were captured nicely, and when compiled together the images got the story across that I was trying to tell. I excluded some photos because they were too blurry, not in focus, had bad lighting, or were just too repetitive.

This slide show linked up very well with my first story. It shows the empty shelves, the impact felt by students, and captures the fact that teachers and students alike decided to turn to Amazon for their books. I really felt like the images followed the story being told in the first issue story. The way I had to think about the story did not change radically, but I had to think very critically on how to compose images to capture the issue I was trying to get across in the first story. I had to imagine how to show aspects like Amazon’s better prices, bad grades from lack of books, and find away to keep the story balanced. Overall I definitely had to put in a lot of effort imagining how to tell the story in a visual manner rather than just through written form.

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