Back in October 2009 I went to Syracuse, NY to present my master’s project so I could finally get the master’s degree in photography that I earned back in 2000-01 from the SI Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. The goal of a master’s project in general is to come up with a real-world, self-generated assignment that demonstrates the skills that you learned while in the program and to use those skills to come up with a portfolio piece that showcases your abilities.
Over the years I came up with several ideas for projects but due to having a full time job, freelance work and limited free time I was never able to follow through with actually completing one. I finally chose to do a multimedia piece for a state government program called the West Virginia Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Training Award that I worked with while I was a staff photographer for the WV Department of Commerce from 2002-07. Since my master’s studies were in photography I wanted a project that was photo driven but I also wanted a lot of emphasis in multimedia to reflect on what I had been doing since I left school.
I decided not simply to show what I could do but I also wanted to develop new skills that I could use to enhance my career. I had a somewhat limited knowledge of developing with Adobe Flash and wanted to learn the program better so I could use it do develop highly interactive multimedia pieces that integrate photography, video, audio, graphics, etc. For this reason I chose to build the bulk of my project in Flash and Actionscript 3.0. By conceiving and building an in-depth, real world project I was able to learn Flash and Actionscript intimately and built a stockpile of code that I could tweak and copy into new projects (which is proving to be less useful as non-Flash compatible smart phones sales continue rise). I also wanted to know more about using social media so I incorporated a networking aspect into the project as well.
Thankfully my faculty advisors, Tony Golden, David Sutherland and Ken Harper, loved the project and my presentation and I passed with flying colors. Now it will probably take another 7-8 years to get the degree framed and hung on my wall.
Find a brief overview and explore my master’s project on my website. You will find links to the main interactive and to the stories that are contained within the interactive.