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Internship dillemma

Dear all,

I’m in the process of choosing my final internship, which starts in december. My school offers quite a range of choices or you can seek a place on your own. I did my writing internship at a local Dutch newspaper. They said that I would be welcome to come back to do my photography internship.

My school also offers internships at ANP and GPD, dutch AP-like press agency’s. Both are obviously orientated towards the ‘bigger’ national events, news and sports.

So now I’m kind of in doubt about which to choose. On one hand the bigger agency’s offer more appealing subjects to shoot(and potentionally better pics to add to my portofolio). Although they are bigger, they deal with interns allot so I guess that the guidance is quite good(you’re teamed up with one of the staff photogs).

The local paper is obviously more orientated towards the smaller news and events, and the don’t take photography interns on a regular basis. But the photo editor of that paper told me that allot of their photogs came as interns and where later taken on as freelancers/interns. So if I do a good job, I might just land a job after my graduation.

So what would you do or have you done? Go with the big boys or go local?

With kind regards

by [a former member] at 2007-09-11 09:36:35 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Rotterdam , Netherlands | Bookmark | | Report spam→

as I like to say, Go Big or Go Home. but really it depends on what you want to do, do you want to shoot community events or larger events and more sports and news? some photographers like to work for small papers in small communities, for others that is a sort of hell. I would think the larger internship would open up more doors (you meet more people when you cover larger events) and you also make a more diverse portfolio.

by Narayan Mahon | 11 Sep 2007 12:09 | Syracuse, United States | | Report spam→
I say go small. It really depends on what kind of work you see yourself doing. At a smaller place you can most likely work on longer photo stories. At a wire you will be trying to grab the photo du jour. At this point I think you should be concerned with deeloping your eye and narrative abilities, something an agency isn’t usually interested in helping you with. You have plenty of time to work for an agency and speaking for myself it isn’t always the best experience…

by [former member] | 11 Sep 2007 12:09 | Berlin, Germany | | Report spam→
whichever allows you the most personal time to develop stories with depth: time spent with those you are covering in order to flesh out the richness of “writing/speaking” with photographs. Also, whichever internship allows you the most intimate and closest relationship to build with a mentor or colleague with whom you can not only talk about photography and life but some with whom you will create a real and lasting relationship. I can’t tell you how important this is in maturing and developing what it is and how it is you want to shoot as a photographer. In another life (god so long ago), I worked as both a writer who had to also shoot the stories he or she was covering (yea, that small of a newspaper, everyone who wrote also snapped) for a small nytimes-owned newspaper and i loved the experience, even though I had no “interest” in becoming a photographer, but all those lessons and conversations, especially with the editor, have proven invaluable now, more than 15 years later……

there is not an algebra for becoming a good and thoughtful and successful photographer, none; however, you cannot, not ever, undervalue the importance of spending long, good thoughtful time working out photographic problems and building relationships with people. for me, as a photographer, listening and watching (and reflecting) is infinitely more important than shooting…shooters, and good shooters at that, are a dime a million….but thoughtful, engaged, committed listeners, now that’s a rarity…..

i think whatever the photographer that i have become, for good and ill, was because of the close and personal relationships I’ve had the fortune to create and develop, beginning with my wife, another photographer, and thinking and watching and listening….

if your ambition is to tell the best stories that you are capable of, remember this: it is about the nurturing of time…more than appearance :))

good luck and enjoy it as much as possible :))


by [former member] | 11 Sep 2007 12:09 (ed. Sep 11 2007) | Toronto (for now), Canada | | Report spam→
Its a difficult one and ultimately your choice. But seeing as you have already done the writing internship at the local I would go with the agency and see how you go there, for the same reasons that Narayan mentioned. Why not try and get to speak to one of the snappers on one of those agencies if you can-it might help your decision. Whatever you choose, good luck.
Best wishes,

by JR, (John Watts-Robertson). | 11 Sep 2007 12:09 | Rothwell, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Thank you all for your replies. I have read some internship reports from other students. ANP really teams you up with one of their staffers. The local paper let’s you go on your own.
I think that I’ll go with the agency. It’s a different experience than a paper, which is good for my CV.
I really like the idea of having a experienced photog looking at my shots on a daily basis and providing feedback. That is the thing that I kind of miss in my current education and as Bob Black said, a mentor is important.
I would also like to shoot the bigger stuff and then, at the end, I can really decide if I want to do local or national.

by [former member] | 11 Sep 2007 14:09 | Rotterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
You’re making the right choice. If anything, ANP will be the greater challenge for the simple reason that you will learn how to shoot, edit and caption your work properly and quickly.

Also, the opportunity to have your work reviewed by more experienced photographers and picture editors is priceless. And if you can work for a wire agency, you can work for a local newspaper.

I did an internship with AFP in London a couple of years ago, and it was the best internship I’ve ever had. Hopefully ANP will be the same for you.

Best of luck!

by David Azia | 11 Sep 2007 18:09 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hi Rutgher,

I am wondering which study you are doing since i dont recall the HKU having 2 internships so i’ll assume you’re at the HU doing Journalism? From what i know of that study which is not primarily focussed on photography, which of course won’t mean you could not be a good photographer but it might mean you have less experience in working on assignment.
Of course this is all based on assumptions since i don’t know you at all.

So in my opinion, as also said by others, i’d go for the bigger corporations like ANP. It will be very good to work next to an experienced photographer who can show you the ropes and teach a lot of the stuff you eventually would have learned as a local photographer as well but it will save you time and possible bad mistakes.
But in the end it will be a tough thing to decide and even some of the Volkskrant,NRC, Trouw etc photographers take interns too that might be nice for you as well. But i just realized that will be almost the same as the ANP. An internship like this will definately be good for your resume no doubt about that but especially the knowledge gained will be the biggest reward.

Good luck on your choice

by Olaf Hartong | 13 Sep 2007 20:09 | Utrecht, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Hi Olaf,

Indeed I’m enrolled at the HU Journalism program. The program tries to offer all kinds of media (tv, writen press, etc) and photojournalism. But, although they claim to offer a real photojournalism program, it’s not all that much.

That is quite a shame, because they have the teachers and enought interested students. But for some reason the school isn’t really making the best of it.
So that is quite a problem. On the other hand, we do learn jouralism skills. I’ve heard that some agency’s say that we kind of lack the technical knowledge, but compensate that with a better noose for news and stories.

Altough I’m not a great photographer(yet! ha!) I think that I have the basics down enough to not make a total ass out of myself during my first week. After my graduation I want to go on and study photography elsewhere to enhance my technical skills.

With kind regards!

by [former member] | 14 Sep 2007 10:09 | Rotterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→

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Narayan Mahon, Photographer Narayan Mahon
Madison, Wisconsin , United States
JR, (John Watts-Robertson)., Photographer JR, (John Watts-Robertson).
Rothwell , United Kingdom
David Azia, Pic. editor/Photographer David Azia
Pic. editor/Photographer
London , United Kingdom
Olaf Hartong, Photographer Olaf Hartong
Utrecht , Netherlands


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