Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Journal 7: The Overall Experience

At the beginning of my internship I set a number of goals for myself. These were not very specific and included gaining real-world work experience, photography experience, improving communication with visitors/staff, and gaining any skills in general. While shooting photos this past week for some Museum events I realized how I had achieved some of these goals.

One of the things I noticed was how easily I could go up to people for photos. I was not as nervous shooting people close up as when I first started, and I became better at asking for photo releases. At the beginning, the Museum Director asked me to focus specifically on people's emotions when photographing and I know I take more of these shots now than a few months ago partially because I am more comfortable. It is easier for me to speak with other staff members as well, not just visitors.

Since I have shot several events throughout the semester, I had the chance to try different methods to find something that works with the space. The challenges of the different rooms in the Museum lead me to think of different things to try when shooting and therefore helped improve my photography skills. I have seen other staff go over why certain images work and others do not, giving me a better idea of how and why certain photos are chosen for different purposes. For example, recently one of mine replaced an older photo on the Academy of the Sword brochure put out for visitors. Libbie pointed out a few reasons for why it was chosen over the old photo, which gives me an idea of more things to think about when shooting.
I have worked on a couple other skills, though not many. I cannot say this did not meet my expectations since I did not have a specific type or amount of skills in mind at the start, but I wish I could have gained more. One thing I learned about was Constant Contact and using it to prepare a newsletter.

The major impacts this internship has had on me are professional and personal. Besides the things mentioned above, I have gained real-world experience since I have been working in an office and throughout the Museum with other staff all semester. I know a lot more about the professional office, Museum, non-profit working environment and the related challenges, such as time and monetary constraints. On a personal level, I have become more interested in sword fighting, weaponry, armor, and the Museum's events because of my experience.

Although I am still open to a variety of career options, a few days at the Museum stand out as influential when I consider my career goals. One was the day I shot the set up for a Bar Mitzvah and another was this past Monday shooting school vacation week programs. Both days seemed to go by too quickly because I completely enjoyed what I was doing. This supports my goals to work with photography, if not as a career then at least as a hobby.

Overall, the internship met my expectations in the end. Since the meeting with the Director a few weeks ago, I have been more involved in tasks that connect to my education and personal interests (mainly photographing more, but also helping with the newsletter). Before, I felt like the experience was not completely meeting my expectations. Based on this, I would recommend the internship to a specific kind of person: someone who can bring up tasks s/he is interested in (such as I have with photography) but does not mind doing simple but necessary tasks other times (such as looking up contact information).

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