Basics of photography with Michael Mercanti

To kick off the second week of the Acel Moore High School Journalism Workshop, the students received a lesson in photography from Michael Mercanti. Mercanti is the photo director for the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News and has been a photographer for the company since 1980.

He began his lesson by treating the students to a glimpse of the photos that he took at the recent Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl parade that took place the previous Thursday. He posed questions to the students regarding what the photos were trying to convey and the tone that they possessed.

He followed up this activity with an explanation of how photography and journalism go hand in hand. “Photojournalism started during the time of the caveman,” Mercanti said. He gave a scenario that someone drew pictures of a ferocious dinosaur to tell people about what they had seen. He also said that the artist’s goal was to provoke emotion in the viewer.

After his explanation, he concluded his time with the students by providing extra tips and tricks for how to achieve the best photos to accompany a piece of prose.

“Find photos that really show who a person really was,” said Mercanti. He illustrated this point by showing a photo of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles holding the prized Lombardi trophy. Foles’ composure could be seen through his expression and his careful hold of the trophy. He also explained the importance of capturing a photo when presented the chance, because if not, you have missed your mark.

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