It was the second day of the workshop and a storm was brewing-I mean that literally. The sun disappeared from the sky and clouds filled the air as the journalism students made the short walk from Shively dining hall where all of their meals were being served to Scripps Hall for their next seminar.
I was walking with fellow?Page One staffer Angie Phifer, who had at dinner jokingly said that the power would probably go out. Turns out, that was more of a prophesy than a joke, for only a few minutes into my photography class the lights flickered and then went dark. Ironic; we had just been talking about the concept of photography as "drawing with light" and suddenly there was no light to be seen.
Faced with this dilemna 90% of the room did what any teenager would-they pulled out their cell phones and switched on their flashlight apps. I, on the other hand, naturally pulled out my camera and began snapping pictures of all the glowing phones. Why fight it? When a good picture presented itself, there was no sense in letting it go to waste.
Workshop participants sit in the hallway during the blackout.
Of course I was mocked by my friends for attempting to take photos in absolute darkness, but eventually a few other photographers caught on and started taking pictures too. All of the students from the four different seminars that had been running were filed into the hallway when it became apparent that the power wouldn't be back on immediately. They told us we would wait there for a half hour or so and then proceed to the dorm rooms if our situation did not improve. We were there for close to two hours. Eventually, they gave up any hope of the power returning and lead us back to the dorm building in shifts.
Outside looked like a warzone; there were power lines down, tree branches littered the ground, and huge puddles of standing water blocked our path. I got stuck in the last group of people to be marched back to the dorms, and then found that I?couldn't call any of my friends because they had wasted their phone battery using them as flashlights.
It took me awhile to locate Angie and our other friends, but eventually we all found our way to the same place and held a mighty discussion about every aspect of life and the many controversies that came along with it. Could you blame us? We were bored and completely void of technology, so we did the one thing we could: talked.
Once we had exhausted every topic of conversation we could come up with, we decided to wander the nine story building in hopes of finding something interesting to do. I?must say, what followed was probably the strangest night of my life.
Firstly we proceeded to ride the only working elevator up and down to random floors until the elevator got massively confused and stopped working all together. It spent a good two or three minutes bouncing between floors seven and eight without opening the doors before Angie and I managed to jump ship and take the stairwell back to our friends. Two girls opted to stay on the elevator. We didn't see them again for a few hours.
After heading downstairs where there was apparently light, I was convinced it was a good idea to go and explore the creepy basement. Angie would not come with me. She thought it was a horrible idea. In truth, it probably was, but I?wasn't about to let an opportunity like that pass me by. So I found a few courageous souls and we headed down. I?am happy to report we survived the trip, and actually managed to end up on the top floor of the building, where a boys basketball camp was being housed. I learned a very important lesson: never take a camera anywhere near a camp of boys basketball, because they will assume you are there to take pictures of them.
Finally to top off our night, I?found Angie again and we sat under an exit sign talking to our friends from Youngstown and Austintown. No one knows how long we sat there, but it must have been awhile, because we were exhausted by the time we returned to our rooms to take showers by flashlight.
Needless to say, that was one workshop I?will never forget. Don't be fooled; we learned a lot about journalism and media and had opportunities to put our skills to practice. However, I?think the best thing I?learned while I was there was the simplicity of spending time away from technology and the chatters of the world.