Day-in-the-Life Journalists Shoot the Works

By Gordon, Gloria | Communication World, January 1989 | Go to article overview

Day-in-the-Life Journalists Shoot the Works


Gordon, Gloria, Communication World


DAY-IN-THE-LIFE JOURNALISTS SHOOT THE WORKS Photographers recorded a typical day in the life of employees at Levi Strauss, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Beckman Instruments.

Photographers who participated in shooting a day's activities throughout the world for AT&T, Levi Strauss, Hewlett-Packard and Beckman Instruments ranged from world-famous pros to talented amateurs and students looking forward to a career in professional photography. For all, the assignment was not only a challenge to their photojournalistic skills, but also gave some an opportunity to travel to many exotic (and a few not-so-exotic) places.

Doug Menuez, who participated in the Beckman project, worked with Day in the Life originator Rick Smolan on five books. "Smolan said `Shoot for yourself and shoot real people in real places.' Even though on his books, he wasn't working in a corporate setting, I felt strongly that his philosophy would be an excellent format to build corporate morale through candid, free flowing settings. After all, companies are like families. When I'm shooting in a corporate setting, I roam freely and become part of the background. What I see (and shoot) reflects real people and real pictures--not always pretty--employees arguing or working under pressure. But the photojournalistic technique offers a direct way for corporations to improve communication within because it tells it as it is, and employees appreciate this."

In addition to Menuez's photographic contribution, Beckman also invited employees to photograph their Beckman work environments for the Day in the Life project. "Besides having their photos appear in the 24-page special issue of Beckman Life, many of the black-and-white photos will become part of an exhibit in the lobby of company headquarters in Anaheim, Calif. They'll also be featured in an audio-visual presentation called `The Magic of You' at Beckman's dinner for employees celebrating service anniversaries," says Jeanie Herbert, employee communication manager at Beckman. "The employees who took photos felt it generated quite a bit of excitement. They found it fun to do, and everyone became involved, particularly because they were working with people they knew," says Herbert. She adds that she sees the project providing her with a library of stock company photos that can be invaluable for a corporate communicator with deadlines and a budget.

In selecting photographers, Jay Coleman of Hewlett-Packard said they surveyed the top photojournalism schools in the US--"The same names kept coming up, San Jose State in Calif., University of Missouri, University of Texas, Indiana University. We carefully reviewed portfolios of students from all these schools, and were able to come up with some real winners. All are extremely talented, a few have already had work in Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and other prestigious publications."

Students attending colleges and universities in West Germany, France, Australia, Mexico City, Italy and Japan contributed to H-P's Day in the Life project. "Where we were unable to find local overseas talent, we sent US students," adds Coleman.

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