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Students cover spring training with New York Times photographer

April 12, 2012

Three students in ASU’s Graphic Information Technology (GIT) program received an opportunity of a lifetime to shadow one of The New York Times’ best photographers, Fred Conrad, as he covered this year’s Cactus League spring training.

Conrad has been shooting with the New York Times for more than 30 years. He has captured unique behind the scenes looks at historical events like the war in Iraq and the faces of Sept. 11 survivors, as well as the high-profile Westminster Dog Show.

Penny Ann Dolin, chair of the GIT program at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation, is a friend and former colleague of Conrad’s, so when he called Penny to ask if any of her students would be interested in helping him cover spring training, she knew it was opportunity they wouldn’t refuse.

“Fred and I are old friends from when I used to shoot for the New York Times,” said Dolin. “He is an amazing photographer, and I was so thrilled that three of our students would gain that behind the scenes experience with someone so well-known in the industry.”

Jessica Nichols, Chad Westover and John Preston, all students in the GIT program, shadowed Conrad for a week during spring training and captured unique and otherwise unseen angles of the players and fans.

“What makes Fred’s work unique is the perspective he brings,” said Westover. “His technique and style of lighting and composing are not that different than techniques I have learned about or seen before, but his talent is the ability to uncover unique angles. He would focus on things like fans eating hotdogs or players cleaning dirt off their cleats, while completely ignoring the big shot players in action on the field.”

In the GIT program, students learn about graphic information technology covering areas such as web development, graphic design, gaming, print and photography.  In the commercial photography and technical imaging focus, students gain hands-on experience with set building in a commercial quality studio. The Technical Imaging Lab introduces students to high-speed photography and video, thermal and stroboscopic photography. In addition to class projects, ASU clients hire the studio with the students involved in all aspects of the shoot – whether it is still photography or video.

“In the studio, we are able to take our time posing people, arranging products, setting up lights, recomposing and reshooting something until we get it right,” said Westover. “When we were in the field with Fred, it was much different. A photojournalist has to have the ability to predict where and when these special moments will happen, Fred always knew when to be in the right place at the right time.”

For complete coverage of Fred Conrad’s photo story on spring training in The New York Times visit:

For more information on the GIT Commercial Photography Studio, please visit