Awarded Photojournalist Encourages Young Creators to Believe in Themselves

3/1/2022

Jim VenemanPhotographer, journalist and California Baptist University professor Jim Veneman held a little pink camera in the air as he recalled the story of Candace, a student who overcame the challenges to succeed at visual storytelling.

Through determination and commitment, Candace completed advanced-level photography courses with the pocket-sized, point-and-shoot camera. “She was showing photographs that surpassed students that were using cameras with much more capability,” said Veneman.

On Feb. 15, Veneman, along with his wife, Carol, visited Palm Beach Atlantic’s campus. He spent the morning in the classroom with communication, public relations and journalism students, and ended the day speaking with faculty and students in Vera Lea Rinker Hall.

“When it comes to visual storytelling, it’s far more about you than it is about a camera,” said Veneman. “And it matters less what story you tell, and more how you choose to tell it.”

Candace’s pink camera became a symbol for students in the audience, reminding them of Veneman’s encouragement and advice. He also used clips from the animated movie Kung Fu Panda to inspire students to believe in their work and creative abilities.

“One of the coolest things we have as visual storytellers is the ability to select perspective and capture a moment,” said Veneman.

The limitations of the pink camera forced Candace to be extra thoughtful in capturing her photographs. “Her ability to select both perspective and the right moment is what every storyteller should aim for.”

Veneman’s presentation also included stories about his wife and kids, exemplifying his message to “build bridges and give your audience something relatable to latch onto.” Videos from North Face and CLIF Bar, brands promoting adventure, demonstrated risk-taking and “blazing a trail” wherever one goes.

Among other accomplishments, Veneman has been honored with the National Press Photographers Association’s Robin F. Garland Educator Award for teaching photojournalism.