a photoblog by ben fredman

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Well, this blog hasn't had much activity in over a year. Or any. Time to close the books.

This blog serves as a record of a few years in photojournalism, including images from my first internship at a small-town paper, to The Dallas Morning News, all the way to time spent living in China to pictures shot while a photojournalism instructor in Florida. Someone learning or interested in the craft could look through 250+ posts on this blog about newspaper photojournalism, freelancing, projects, pushing my style and vision, struggles, successes, failures, hilarious comments, layoffs, jokes, etc.

Photojournalism taught me how to see the world. I will shoot pictures throughout my life. Now I'm interested in studying other ways to tell stories.

Today is my last day as a teacher. I will spend the summer backpacking abroad. In August, I'll be heading to film school to pursue a MFA in Film Production from Florida State University where I will study the craft of narrative filmmaking.

See here ... http://film.fsu.edu/Graduate-Programs/MFA-in-Production

Maybe I'll update this blog or start another one once school starts.

Check out my newly redesigned website for galleries, projects and short films.


Thanks for looking.

Ben Fredman

Friday, January 15, 2010


From a trip to NYC.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Been a while. I've been busy these last few months getting this journalism program up and running. In short, I teach multimedia and photojournalism in Newsroom I and II elective courses in a program in partnership with the SP Times. We put out the school newspaper and have launched an ever growing website. It's an interesting gig...I'm trying to be a source of inspiration and ideas as well as a teacher, director of photography, mutlimedia producer, web editor, photo editor, multimedia editor, page designer, IT technician, managing editor, copy editor and occasional problem solver.

We have a load of excellent equipment and some stellar students. I'm always blown away looking at the work produced...most of these kids never picked up a SLR or used a Mac before taking this class. They're doing a great work and hopefully learning valuable skills.

Check out our website at http://snntoday.snn.pcsb.org/ to see some of the work. We are using Joomla as our content managing system online. In the last few months, I have learned this CMS in and out. The Eyes of Lakewood has been a strong video series...teaching the kids the basics of video interviews and editing while gathering compelling stories. There are multimedia presentations and audio slideshows and picture slideshows as well.

Anyways, here are some pictures of my first vacation, benefits of being an educator...I spent the week relaxing in the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach area. My winter vacation will be in Southern Florida, then NYC and Boston. For spring break I've got plans to backpack and shoot for a week in Costa Rica, Jamaica, or Puerto Rico...wherever I can get cheap tickets to. For my big summer trip, I'm planning to take six weeks, grab a backpack, some clothes and a camera and head to a remote region in northwest India between Tibet and Burma. We'll see how things come together.

Also, a shout to my friends John Tully and Brandon Kruse who have some awesome projects they've completed recently. Killer stuff dudes.

And the pictures...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

friday night iPhone

I still find myself on a high school football field on the occasional Friday night. Instead of shooting on deadline for a paper, I'm organizing and delving out cameras, advice and inspiration for my students.

We are waiting for long glass, two 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses for the students to use. For now, they're using kit lenses on Nikon D40's...hardly ideal for shooting action on the football field. However, I'm a fan of looking away from the obvious, to more subtle aspects of sports, and all stories for that matter. It's interesting, open to seeing. In addition, I'm explaining the idea that it's not the camera or lens you use but the things you see. So I goofed off for a half with my iPhone...showing my students along the sidelines, in hope of inspiration, the things I was seeing with my phone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dujiangyan dam.

Been swamped getting ready for school on Tuesday...also archiving and cleaning out a very full hard drive. Here is a frame I liked from the area around Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, China, where I went on many a day trip.

Sunday, August 16, 2009



This is a picture of three couples on various planes of St. Pete Beach, shot while relaxing and reading a book before my first day of training for a new gig.

Over coffee one morning in China, I saw a rather interesting job opportunity on the wonderful threads of APAD. A few weeks later, after a 36 hour block of traveling, I drove my newly purchased car to the beautiful town of St. Petersburg, Florida.

I'll be a Photojournalist in Residence with Pinellas County Schools, teaching photojournalism, multimedia and newsroom skills at Lakewood High School. I'm part of a program called Journeys in Journalism, a specialized education initiative in partnership with the St. Petersburg Times and the Poynter Institute. It's a change in pace for me, but I think it will be a rewarding and unique job. It's the first year for the program at the high school level...so lots of room to develop and shape the program. Not to mention the two months of vacation a year...more traveling? Certainly. Also, I'm living in St. Petes in the midst of a wonderful photo community. Can't afford a hotel for Geekfest 2009? You can crash on my floor. Funny, I've been a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan since I was ten despite never being to the area before. That's what growing up in New Mexico without a local team will do for you...

I'm planning to do some freelance work in the area, keep working on projects, etc. So hopefully no more month long lapses in illtown...

from the east.

Yikes. It's been far too long since I've updated illtown. Trying to get back in the groove.

Here is a random post from my last month in China...two days after returning from my backpacking trip to Thailand, I boarded a plane south for Kunming, Yunnan Province, where I worked for a month in the city of Dali and small village Shaxi with Rustic Pathways, a company specializing in various programs for American teenagers around the globe. I was shooting for their catalog and basically helping to lead a program...in other words managing kids in a foreign country. I was a great experience, highly challenging yet extremely rewarding. For the catalog, I was mostly shooting PR-style-happy-kids-having-fun and such...

These are just some shots for me along the way. I found it challenging when out and about that most people would immediately pose and smile for the camera...with my limited Chinese, it was hard to explain my intention to shoot documentary photojournalism...so I took the chance to make some portraits of people.

My travels in Asia were simply incredible. I'm still going through the significance in my mind. It wasn't just about pictures, although that was a significant part. It was about the things I saw, learned, laughed at, ran from, ran to. The people I met. Twelve hour bumpy bus rides from hell with toothless men chain smoking next to me. Groups of villagers gathering to watch me eat noodles. Journal entries. Riding motorcycles through cloud covered mountains. Almost crashing motorcycles. Tutoring Chinese students, helping them learn English. Having conversations with people using nothing but gestures. Being in the midst of bike traffic jams. Trying not to get hit by buses, cars, taxis, motorbikes on the most unsafe roads I've ever seen. Being in places where nobody understood my language. The occasional injury. Fascinating conversations with brilliant people. Backpacking. Hiking. Learning some Chinese. THE FOOD. Spending time with my brother and sister in law. Books I read. Glee. Panic. Joy. Adventures, adventures, adventures. I wouldn't give the experience up for anything in the world. I'll be out and about again...so much more of the world to see, experience, photograph.


I am a freelance photographer and educator specializing in documentary, editorial and travel photography based in St. Petersburg FL.
All Images © Ben Fredman, The Free Lance-Star, The Dallas Morning News, The Star-Ledger, The Muskegon Chronicle and The Post Register.