Presentation of Social Work/Photo Documentary Collaboration at the University Level

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This presentation will focus on a collaboration that took place between Social Work and Documentary Photojournalism students. The students were involved in a semester-long project involving pairing groups of social work and photojournalism students. They identified a need in a vulnerable community and developed a PowerPoint presentation utilizing the research of the social work students and the photos of the photojournalism students to illustrate their findings and recommendations.

We will present the project from the perspective of both set of students. The social work students’ role was to assess the needs of a particular community and determine what was needed to resolve that need. The photojournalism students’ role was to create a body of images that served to illustrate specific social service needs that were identified by the social work students in a variety of settings in the Los Angeles area. The settings included a shelter for battered and abused women, halfway homes for runaway teens, street life in Hollywood, a prison for juvenile female offenders, and a youth community center in Koreatown. The documentation included both candid, photojournalistic style documentation and environmental portraiture. We will incorporate PowerPoint presentations that demonstrate how this collaboration transpired, including how the resulting documentation served as an appropriate and essential visual accompaniment to the social work students’ research. An important component of the presentation will be the curriculum design choices made to prepare both sets of students for their encounters with the subjects of the community needs investigations. This required specific attention to the objectives of the classes, which included expectations such as, “. . . students will be able to assess the patterns, dynamics and consequences of oppression, discrimination, and economic deprivation, as they affect diverse populations, within the context of the social and economic values.” With this in mind, our students were engaged in preparatory reading, classroom discussions and activities that highlighted not only the historical link between photographic documentation and social work, but also the psychological and philosophical background necessary to instill all students with the awareness and sensitivity necessary to gain the confidence of the individuals and organizations in question.


Keywords: Social Work, Photjournalism, Collaboration
Stream: Media and Communications
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Herman Leon DeBose

Professor, Sociology Department, California State University, Northridge
Northridge, California, USA

Herman L. DeBose, professor, Sociology Department, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), teaches sociology and social work courses. Additionally, he teaches Organizational Theory/ Behavior in the CSUN Masters of Public Administration program. He has received the Distinguished Teacher of the Year (1999-2000) and the Extraordinary Service (2000-2001) awards. His primary areas of research are Biracial/ Multiracial Identity, Coupling, Juvenile Delinquency, and HIV/AIDS among minorities. He has made over fifty presentations at international, national, regional and local professional conferences. He along with Dr. Loretta Winters co-edited a book entitled “New Faces in a Changing America: Multiracial Identity in the 21st Century” released by Sage Publications in December 2002.
He is the principal investigator of a Los Angeles County Probation Department five-year $1,000,000 contract to implement and administer a Youth Services Specialists (YSS) program in the San Fernando Valley. The CSUN YSS program aims to reduce recidivism by helping deputy probation officers expedite the transition of juveniles on probation to the community.
For the last fifteen years he has provided part-time service as a consultant and trainer with The Center for Human Services, University Extension, University of California, Davis. His training areas include: Casework with Compassion, Casework with Multicultural Client Populations, California Civil Rights Division 21, Crisis Intervention, Cross Cultural Awareness, Cultural Diversity, Cross Cultural Communication, Hostility and Violence in an Organization, Impact of HIV and AIDS in the Workplace, Prejudice and Bias in Human Services, Social Work Ethic and Values, and Substance Abuse. Additionally, he is a trainer for the Los Angeles County Training Academy.
Prior to CSUN, he worked over 25 years for Los Angeles County (psychiatric social worker, patient rights advocate, evaluator of drug contracts, and AIDS program office manager) and the United States Peace Corps, as Associate Peace Corps Director in Kenya and Peace Corps Volunteer/Kenya (1969 to 1973).

David Blumenkrantz

Assistant Professor, Journalism Department, California State University, Northridge
Northridge, California, USA

David Blumenkrantz is an Assistant Professor in the Journalism Department at California State Univeristy, Northridge. He specializes in documentary photojournalism, and is particularly involved in projects related to underrepresented and impovershed populations. While living in Kenya, Blumenkrantz worked as a photojournalist and documentarian for various non-governmental, including InterAid International and UNICEF. As a freelancer, he was a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines in Kenya and elsewhere. Blumenkrantz taught black and white photography workshops at the French Cultural Center in Nairobi, and conducted a training course in photography for former rebel soldiers in Eritrea, which had just concluded a successful war of secession from Ethiopia. In 1992, he visited refugee camps in several African nations, compiling a documentary exhibition for the All Africa Conference of Churches. From 1992-1994, he ran an information department for the Undugu Society of Kenya, an organization dedicated to assisting street children and urban slum dwellers in Nairobi, Kenya's capital city.

Upon his return to the United States in 1994, Blumenkrantz worked for the Los Angeles Times and various other publications as a freelance photojournalist. He ran a photography class for at-risk youth at the Watts Towers Art Center for the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles, and spent eight years teaching with the Los Angeles Unified School District. After teaching part time at Los Angeles Valley College and in the Art and Journalism Departments at CSUN, Blumenkrantz joined the full-time journalism faculty in 2004.

Ref: I08P0481