Photography is a unique combination of art and technology. Similar to most publications, photos in The Polytechnic augment articles and can greatly influence how readers perceive news. There are a couple of projects I am currently involved with that use technology to make our photos available to the community in a faster and more meaningful way.
This semester, we are aiming to share our photos with more immediacy than ever before. During hockey games, our Social Media Coordinator Kayla Cinnamon ’18 tweets out live updates while Mailani Neal ’19 handpicks photos to intersperse among them. Initially, we tried transferring photos by manually copying them off of memory cards from a camera during the games. However, we now have a much better workflow, which involves tethering a camera to a Raspberry Pi that automatically uploads photos to The Poly’s photo server from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. We also used this system during the Black Student Alliance Fashion Show to tweet out photos as the models walked the runway. There are many issues left to fix, but we’re already using this setup to bring photos to the community faster than ever before.
Another project I’m working on is increasing the usefulness of our photo archive. We send photographers to sports games, Student Senate and Executive Board meetings, concerts, and other campus events. A typical hockey game results in about 600 photos that take up approximately 20 gigabytes of storage space in total. We take a lot of photos, and they should be more accessible to the Rensselaer community. I’m working on a website that will allow The Poly’s photo archives to be more easily searched and filtered. This will enable anyone to find photos of a specific event, and it will also increase the lifespan of photos that aren’t published with an article.
Thanks to The Poly, I have been able to gain experience combining photography and journalism, all the while leveraging my background in programming to make our photos even better. If these projects sound interesting to you, or if you have other ideas for improving the newspaper, I encourage you to join The Poly!