Emilie Stigliani's multi-media project ideas

I am a journalism master's student at University of Missouri. For Fundamentals of Convergence 7802, I was tasked with finding a subject for a multi-media project that I will be completing this semester, fall 2011. I moved to Missouri in August, just before the start of the semester. As a new resident of Columbia, there is lots that I don't know about the community.

I wanted to document a piece of daily life in Columbia. My instructor and I agreed that I would take Habitat for Humanity as my subject. Habitat for Humanity has the mission to "work in partnership with God and volunteers to build modest homes for low-income families who could not otherwise afford to purchase their own homes." Volunteers are currently working Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m to noon at the corner of Creasy Springs Road and Parker Road. Four houses are being built at that location. These projects will be ongoing throughout the year.

For my multi-media project, I will document the work of Habitat for Humanity through the actual contruction of the home and the volunteers that build it. I will also try to include the families for which the homes are being built. I hope that the project will tell the story of hard work, community, volunteerism, and — in the end — a deserving family moving into their own home.

Breaking the ice portrait assignment

All portraits were taken in Columbia, Mo. on August 31, 2011.

Jack Smith portrait Jeff Frey portrait Sean Na portrait
Jack Smith wrings out his swimsuit after spending the afternoon at the Stephens Lake Park beach. He poses for a picture but doesn't want to be interviewed. Instead, he wants to know where the photographer is from. “So you’re from Iowa,” Smith says. “I’ve been there before for gun shows.” Jeff Frey, 32, leaves the Stephens Lake Park beach. He is a gardener and an activist. After standing for a picture, he is in a rush to hop on his yellow motorbike. “I’m about to go to a peace protest," Frey says. Sean Na, 19, is starting his freshmen year at MU and comes from Allentown, Pa. So far, he likes MU. “It’s great,” Na says. “It’s quiet. I don’t like places like New York City.”
Justin Tucker portrait Stellar Zeng Curtis Pipes portrait

Justin Tucker, 24, spends the afternoon reading at the Stephen Lake Park beach. He is in a rush to go and only has time to pose for one picture.

Stellar Zeng, 34, enters MU's Reynolds Journalism Institute. She is a visiting scholar of the Journalism Department.  She has been in Missouri for two weeks and has left some important people in China. “My husband and boys are in Shanghai,” Zeng says. Curtis Pipes, 32, spends Wednesday afternoon touring Columbia, Mo. with his girlfriend, Sarah Robinson. Pipes examines the bookshelves in the Shelter Gardens' School House. He is from Missouri but has been living in New Zealand. “It feels really good to be home,” Pipes says. “I’ve been gone a year and a half.”

I was surprised by how easy it was to take people's photographs. Not all the subjects were happy, but they let me take thier picture anyway. I was also surprised by their willingness to tell their age. This assignment makes me think that people aren't as private as I thought. It gives me confidence for future assignments.

Taking these pictures helped me get more comfortable working with a Nikon D70 camera. I took Curtis Pipes' picture first and it is obvious that the focus was off. I was able to adjust the focus and improve my technique with the rest of the subjects. Stellar Zeng's photograph was the last picture I took. There is a big difference between the quality of those two pictures.

Decisive moment assignment

Tyler Woodcock's decisive moment George Hage's decisive moment Audrey Wagner's decisive moment
Tyler Woodcock, 32, watches other finishers after receiving his medal for completing the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia, Mo. He ran the course 3 hours, 45 minutes. The “thoughest” part of Woodcock’s race was Providence Hill. He was one of 210 runners to start the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2011. George Hage, a Columbia resident, celebrates his upcoming 88th birthday on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. He opens his first present — a T-shirt with the Syracuse University logo. It will replace his old T-shirt “that’s almost see through.” Hage fought in 84th Infantry Division during World War II and considers himself very fortunate. Sunday afternoon, Sept. 4, 2011, Audrey Wagner, 16, picks out a flavor at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, 21 S. Ninth St., Columbia, Mo. Audrey decides on a cup of mango ice cream. Labor day weekend, many Columbia residents flocked downtown to enjoy the first cool, sunny days of September.

Three photos assignment

Habitat scene setter photo Portrait of three photo assignment Detail shot from three photo assignment
Yolonimu Bahugene(cq) works Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, 2011 on a project at his Habitat home on Emery Drive in Columbia, Mo. Show-Me Central Habit for Humanity has built over 100 homes for low-income families living in Columbia. Bahugene(cq), 55, is a native of the African country Burundi. He and his family of seven moved three years ago to Columbia, Mo. They are anxious to make their final move into a new home. Bahugene(cq) spends several days a week working with Habitat. Families who are chosen to receive a Habitat home are required to put 250 to 300 hours of work into their own home or the home of another family.

12 photo story: Habitat for Humanity homes on Emery Drive

Erv Mertzlufft photo Northern house photo
Erv Mertzlufft (cq), 72, the Habitat for Humanity building supervisor, leads a crew of 20 to 25 volunteers in the construction of homes. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, he keeps track of his crew members and their various indoor and outdoor building projects. Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, 2011, volunteers work on the northern-most house of the three houses Habitat is constructing on Emery Drive in Columbia, Mo. In total, Habitat plans to contruct eleven homes on this site. Mertzlufft (cq) said he estimates it will take about a year to finish all the homes. Each house is at a different phase of completion. Compared to the other two houses, this one has the most work left.
Men on roof photo Men putting up wall photo
Sept. 7, 2011, Hans Scherer (cq) and Curt Vogel (cq), left to right, put the roof on the northern-most house. Jim Patchett (cq), Jim Curley (cq), Jerry Darnell (cq), and Kurt Simmons (cq), left to right, put up the back wall of the northern-most house on Sept. 7, 2011. Simmons is one of the newer crew member, having recently retired from 3M, a tape and electrical packing company.
Yolonimu Bahugene's house photo Beams detail photo
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, Yolonimu Bahugene (cq), 55, gets ready to prime his porch, located in between the other two Habit homes that are also under construction. Bahugene (cq) must volunteer 250 to 300 hours to fulfill his requirements for Habitat homeownership. He, his wife and their six children moved three years ago from the country of Burundi to Columbia, Mo. On Sept. 7, 2011, the inside of Bahugene's (cq) home still needs insulation, walls and floors. The crew had already installed the shower and most of the electrical work.
Jerry Sigmund and Al Viola photo Al Viola hands photo
Jerry Sigmund (cq), 73, and Al Viola (cq), 78, left to right, discuss their measurements for the eaves of Yolonimu Bahugene's Habitat home on the morning of Sept. 9, 2011.

Viola (cq), a retired high school teacher, breaks off an excess piece of fascia, an outdoor covering, that he and Sigmund (cq) will fit on the eaves of Bahugene's (cq) house.

Faucet detail photo Jerry Darnell photo
Sigmund (cq), a recent retiree from Designer Kitchen and Bath, installed this faucet in the the southern-most Habitat home. This house is the closest of the three to completion. Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, Jerry Darnell (cq), 74, works inside the southern-most house. He worked for many years as a computer technician and has been a volunteer with Habitat for 14 years.
Jerry Darnell photo South and central house photo
Darnell (cq) saws a board to fit the attic opening of the southern-most house. Sept. 9, 2011, the southern and central Habitat houses have most of their outdoor work finished. The southern house, left, has appliances and drywall. Though the exact date of the dedication ceremony, where Habitat hands over the house to the new homeowner, had not yet been set, the crew guessed it would take place in November 2011.

Short audio assignment

Erv Mertzlufft photo
Habitat for Humanity Building Supervisor Erv Mertzlufft, 72, talks about the organization and his role within it on Sept. 14, 2011. (0:55)

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


NPR-style story assignment

Ross Swofford Potrait Erv Mertzlufft Photo
Ross Swofford, 86, left, and Erv Mertzlufft, 72, right, volunteer at the Creasy Springs Habitat for Humanity site in Columbia, Mo. They speak about their work and involvement with Habitat on Sept. 14 2011. (1:56)

30-second video

Tesfasellassie G. Tekie (cq), 63, moved with his family of six from Eritrea, a country in northern Africa, to Columbia, Mo. He worked with the Habitat for Humanity volunteers to build his family a new home on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011.

Sequence Video

Jerry Darnell (cq), 74, Ro Zam A (cq), 29, and Sbarry Zo (cq), 30, put siding on Zo's house, Oct. 7, 2011. Darnell volunteers with the regular Habitat work crew. Zam A works to help Zo, his friend, complete her homeowner hours. All habitat homeowners must work on their house or another family's house for 250 to 300 hours. Zam A and Zo are both from Malaysia. (0:34)

TV package

In early October 2011, Al Viola and Tesfasellassie Tekie (cq) talk about the homes Habitat for Humanity is building on Emery Drive in Columbia, Mo. (1:30)