In early 2020, you Cornell Watson have a ‘salaried job’ job like everyone else in a company’s HR department. But by the end of the year, he became a potential photographer for both the New York Times and the Washington Post, with photo projects receiving up to $ 20,000 in funding.
Accident at the dinner table
Mr. Watson shared with Petapixel: “I started learning about photography about 2 and a half years ago, after my daughter was born. I wanted to record my life after becoming a father.”. He took pictures of his kids and friends, followed by neighbors.
“I worked as a recruiting job for the HR department for eight years after graduating from North Carolina A&T College. Photography used to be a part-time job, until I was laid off on the 10th. June 2020, it’s a Friday. “
A follower of his Instagram page works at Durham magazine in North Carolina and introduces him to work there.
“On the following Monday, I interviewed at Durham magazine and became a photographer ever since.”
Mr. Watson took on his first assignment to photograph animator Keith Knight with his family. Mr. Knight is the director of the Hulu comedy “Woke”.
“We had a very nice meeting, and about three weeks later he called me back to continue taking pictures for a report on The Washington Post. That was the first time I took pictures of them. . “
At the same time, he completed “Behind the Mask” – a photo project he sent to Kenneth Dickerman – an editor he was at at The Washington Post and the newspaper also published it later.
The Dunbar boys
“Behind the mask is not only a collection of impressive photos and words, this is also a project of the era. It reminds me that sometimes I have to be quiet to listen to the people. There has been no voice for a long time. “ – said Dickerman.
Here is a summary of the content of the Photo Project Behind the Mask:
“These pictures are dedicated to my ancestors, who have to smile when they are not happy, have to laugh out loud even though nothing is worth laughing and cry when they are not feeling sad. simply because they want to live today,
It commemorates the times when we had to cut or straighten our hair in order to “be in the community”. For the times when we had to try to laugh when the manager showed us the photos they had blacked out their faces to mock people of color … For the times when we had to change our voices, avatars Social network to be able to book hotels, order. For times when we have to tell ourselves to be strong when we struggle under the weight of racism. Those are the times when we have to wear masks. “
Verona Middleton-Jeter commemorates Princess Diana
Portrait of yourself taken with film
The title of the series is inspired by the poem “We wear the masks” by Paul Lawerence Dunbar. Most photos are taken in black and white. “I really like black and white photos and think that it helps users feel more clearly the emotions that the photos bring.”
With the photo set Behind the Mask, Mr. Watson received a grant of up to $ 20,000 from The Alexia Foundation from the SI Newhouse School of Community Communication at Syracuse University in New York.
Gena Marie – Colored aerial lady
“The Alexia is a fund for photo essays that reflect the injustices of the community, respect history and let us understand that cultural differences can become the strength of humanity.” not a weakness. “
The sadness of the survivors
Mr. Watson uses Fujifilm X-T3 cameras and lighting products from Godox. He shot RAW and edited with Adobe Lightroom. “After getting used to it, my post-production process got faster and faster, but it still took quite a while.”
His photos caught the eye of the New York Times, and he was invited by them to create a set of photos called “How Black Parents Fight 2020.”
To talk about the differences between photo sets for regional and national newspapers, he shared: “For magazines, stories often tell beautiful things of the city that attract visitors, are stories that make readers happy. Stories published on NYT and WaPo are not the right time. Anyway, there are articles that can change the reader’s perspective. These are probably more meaningful content. “
“For the past 2 years I still think that I am practicing my hands in photography. I have attended 2 photography courses under” Family Narration “. The content ranges from reporting, editing to photography. I also take a lot of courses on editing, lighting, writing … Although I don’t have much experience in newspaper editing, I have a bit of preparation. “
Dr. Jason Willimas
Photographer Cornell Watson
“Lighting is going to be something I want to hone for many years this year. And then my writing skills, because handwriting seems to add depth to my photographs. I have a lot to say, and Adding the skills to put it on the page is a skill I feel is a must-have.My goal for my future is to spend more time planning, creating new ideas and implementing them. The support money from The Alexia will help my career a lot, because it saves me from having to find a stable job like I had to do last year. “