Students in the Department of Journalism at the University of Montana have the opportunity to learn more about documentary photography and freelance from renowned photographers.
Daniella Zalcman was nominated as T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor for the program in the spring semester. She teaches a course on documentary photography and building a sustainable freelance business.
“I’ve been a freelance journalist for 15 years and it hasn’t been as demanding as it has been since March 2020,” Zalcman said. “The idea of being a little away from the photographer and completely absorbed in teaching was very exciting.”
T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor is a visiting professor founded in 2001 by the family of T. Anthony Pollner, a 1999 UM journalism graduate who died in a motorcycle accident.
Zalcman graduated from Columbia with a degree in architecture in 2019. Her ongoing photography project, “Signs of Your Identity,” has won multiple awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also the co-founder of We, Women, a project that amplifies the perspective of women and non-binaries, and co-authored the Bill of Rights for Photography. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Smithsonian, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The New York Times and more.
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In addition to her impressive resume, Zalcman is also the co-founder of Indigenous Photograph, an online database aimed at improving the work of indigenous visual journalists. Zalcman co-founded the website with Taylor Irvine, a professional photojournalist who graduated from the University of Montana’s Faculty of Journalism.
Irvine was also the person who encouraged Zalcman to apply for the position of T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor. The two first met at a photography workshop in New York a few years ago.
“I wish I could contact a mentor like Daniela in college. She is a person who cares deeply about the people in her photos and projects, protects their image and fights to tell their story. “Irvine said.
After graduating from UM and a freelance photojournalist, Irvine knows exactly how Zarkman’s experience can help current students. While in college, she felt that her class was aimed at preparing students for newspaper staff positions that were no longer available.
“When I started my career as a freelance journalist, I quickly realized that I didn’t know what I was doing. I had a lot of questions,” Irvine said.
“The industry is changing rapidly, and there’s a lot I’ve always wanted to learn about freelance, from taxes and contracts to organizing and funding the jobs I want to do,” she continued. “Freelance isn’t just about taking pictures and telling stories. It’s a full-fledged business. Daniela’s classes are very useful for anyone who wants to know how to balance everything and build a sustainable career. think.”
In this semester’s Zalcman class, students will need to follow the entire class story for four months. This is treated like a freelance issue for a magazine. Students need to market their stories, write coverage plans, and theoretically write out how to fund their projects.
“If anything, I’m so confident in Gen Z journalism students that I’m less focused on the photo itself. They understand how to make a photo,” Zalcman said. Mr. says.
“It’s really about how to learn how to be a successful journalist on a mission, and in parallel, we’re going to talk about a lot of business,” she continued.