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Wednesday afternoon, with 21 students attentive in Sedona Red Rock High School’s freshman onlineexclusive.jpgphotography class, Sedona Red Rock News photographer Mal Cooper stood front and center open to question, comment and criticism.

By Nate Hansen
Larson Newspapers
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Wednesday afternoon, with 21 students attentive in Sedona Red Rock High School’s freshman photography class, Sedona Red Rock News photographer Mal Cooper stood front and center open to question, comment and criticism.

Actually, the only criticism came from Cody Horchak who wanted to know if the New Zealand native truly obtained her accent from the island country.

“No, I got the accent from Ebay,” Cooper replied, laughing.

After grouping the students into a class picture, some suspiciously hiding their faces with their own cameras, Cooper dropped the lens and began a lecture.

She briefly touched upon education, telling students where she attended school — including Northern Arizona University.

More importantly, she stressed those things she felt they wouldn’t learn from academia.

“You have to learn to think on your feet,” she said. “School didn’t prepare me for that.”

What Cooper was speaking of specifically were the numerous incidents and accidents she’s called out to and required to cover.

Fortunately, thanks to her close relationship with emergency services, she’s only a phone call away — even if the time is 2 in the morning.

“What’s your favorite part about photography?” Cooper asked.

“Angle shots,” Jacob Rivera said.

“You have complete control,” Timothy Kohl followed.

“I like out-of-focus pictures,” Horchak added.

Cooper talked about picture compostion, something everyone was familiar with.

“What shutter speed? Aperature?” a student questioned quickly.

“You use a long lens — how long?” another jumped in.

After giving away a few secrets, Cooper elaborated on various techniques, but emphasized an individual’s perspective — a different perspective.

She mentioned a photographer could use documentary, manipulation, dodging and burning …

“Double exposure,” a voice echoed.

Double exposure, she justified.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. What do you want to capture?” she asked.

Tracy Csavina, SRRHS photography instructor, tended to Cooper’s CD portfolio, filing through photo after photo.

Most photos she displayed were for SRRN, but others she freelanced to New York Times, New York Daily News, Dallas Morning Star and 944 Magazine.

She glanced over to a writer, smiling and told of the importance of a picture to accompany an article, a story. The photo is what people are generally draw to, she suggested.

“You can capture it [the story] one frame at a time while bringing in the moment.

“Use the elements to tell the story,” she concluded.

The question At Random participants are usually asked is, “If your name were in the newspaper, what would the story be about?”

Cooper is already in the paper — it’s the byline under the photos.

As far as the freshmen in Csavina’s photography class, after they finish school and pay their dues, they expect nothing less.

To reach Nate Hansen, call 282-7795, Ext. 132 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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