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Home X-Culture Stories Unique X-Culture Challenges with Photos (And Possible Solutions)

Unique X-Culture Challenges with Photos (And Possible Solutions)

June 19th, 2017, by

X-Culture has a unique problem. It’s hard to make photos “about” X-Culture.

It’s easy to have photos “about” a business, or “about” a university. You take photos of the office building, or campus, or your employees in a conference room, or your product, or students in a classroom.

That won’t work for X-Culture. We have thousands of people, but no office building, tangible product, or campus.

We have countless live webinars and meetings. We even have regular X-Culture symposia where students and professors meet face to face.

Yet, it’s hard to take a photo that would capture the essence of our project: global interconnectedness, experiential learning, students from around the world working with companies around the world.


We tried several options.

  1. At the end of each semester, our professors send us photos of their students. Usually it is a group photo of the entire class. If you look at a few dozen of those, they do convey the sense that X-Culture brings students from around the world together. Each class looks differently. Different ethnicities. Different clothing styles. Different background.
    But if you include one of those pictures in a publication about X-Culture, all you see is a group of students in India, or a group of students in Ghana, or a group that seems to be in the U.S.
    Each picture is “one location, one ethnicity, one class”. No “global” in it.

Sometimes the professor would display a slide with the X-Culture logo on the whiteboard behind the group. This way, at least, we can tell these are X-Culture students. Still not quite what we need for a magazine article about X-Culture.




2. We also took pictures of our webinars. But then again, you see one person in front of a computer. Maybe with a few more people showing up on the screen. But still hardly a dramatic depiction of global interconnectedness.


3. And then we tried to take photos during the symposia. There again, we would get a photo of a large group of young people, possibly with a logo of the host company in the background. The photos look more like a field trip or a conference, than an international collaboration project, crowdsourcing, etc.


As we’re preparing for the X-Culture Symposium in Miami, we’re getting a few things ready to finally get some good photos.

First and foremost, our wonderful Lisa McLaughlin and Casey Fletcher had an idea for a roll-out banner with the X-Culture logo on it. The banner was just delivered and I LOVE it. It’s about 1×2 meters (3×6 feet). We can put it up when taking group photos at the Symposium, plus keep it in the background during the presentations. This way, at least it will be clear that it is an X-Culture event.


Second, I am trying to get a professional photographer for the entire duration of the symposium. The plan is to take tons of pictures. Not only the staged group photo, but also lots of photos of students presenting, working in groups, round table discussions, workshops, etc. Hopefully that will give us something to work with. I’ll also bring my lights and backdrops set, along with the green, white and black screens. These may come in handy for some of the photo themes.

Any suggestions or tips?



Oh, one cool thing we do when taking X-Culture photos: Everyone makes and “X”. Kind of our thing.


By Vas Taras

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