CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College/Professor Bernstein
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Category — Sara Krulwich


It seems that some of the biggest changes in history have started with a single step. We find ourselves surrounded by reminders of past uprisings, small events with such large circumstances–we hear so much of Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks, but why do we hear nothing of Sara Krulwich?

Her efforts seem to be one of the main stepping stones towards equality in the world of photography. Just a few words of hers, despite the chagrin of her peers, had the power to change the way that people viewed photography–and who was able to be behind the camera. Tags that stated the prohibition of her presence on the football field meant little to her–what was a piece of paper doing in between her and her goals  anyway, besides hiding the fears of years so blissfully misinformed? She disregarded the rules that seemed so set in stone by those deemed “in control,” during a time that seemed built of equally irrevocable guidelines–but it did nothing but the fires of her trend-setting ways.

Ms. Krulwich told us of her struggles on and off the field, and it brought to mind thoughts of the struggle many of us often face everyday. She fought for her independence, for her ability to actively participate in the art that she loved–what do we fight for? Why is it that we are becoming known in this day and age as the group of Americans that are so willing to allow government and the norms of society to walk all over our ideas, and desires for the future?

While listening to Sara Krulwich, I realized that the answer lies not in the group–not its power, not its faults–but in the individual. The answer lies in the individual ability to stand up for one’s beliefs, an action that often seems to eventually lead to the changing of the world. Look at Sara Krulwich. Look at what she’s done.

How different are we?

December 15, 2010   1 Comment

Sara Krulwich

The Michigan Daily – Jay Cassidy

The Struggle. Sara Krulwich is more than just a simple photographer; she is a daredevil, a pioneer. As she stands on the soft turf grass of “The Big House,” the nickname of University of Michigan’s football stadium, she had just hurdled a social boundary, a standard that was set by a male-dominated society. Ms. Krulwich recognized that the stadium’s field prohibited access to women, children, and dogs. But she understood that she had a job to finish, a mission to complete. As a member of the photo department of The Michigan Daily, she had to capture and document her assignment. Ignoring the resounding protests from the mass of fans, Ms. Krulwich was able to accomplish a feat no other woman has ever been able to accomplish. She made her mark on history, and her deed for women everywhere will echo in all of eternity.

The truth. Sara Krulwich gave us an insight into her successful career as a photographer. The most important tool at her disposal wasn’t the megapixels of her camera, but rather something she developed over time, confidence. Unlike other lecturers, she presented herself as nothing more than a human being who has experienced a whole lot in her life. In her humble manner, she spoke about being confident in the face of uncertain, and often daring moments. One key lesson that I have learned from her time speaking is that don’t be afraid to get close to someone, and then taking his or her photograph. It is outrageous, and sometimes extraordinary, measures like that, which separate an amateur photographer from a well-distinguished one.

The lesson. Throughout her time speaking to us about her life and photography, she taught me that comfort is the enemy of success. Sara Krulwich defined: a hard-working, dedicated, persistent individual who is willing, and able, to confidently surmount the overwhelming obstacles that life presents. Lesson well learned.

December 14, 2010   No Comments

Sara Krulwich: There are professionals for a reason…

It’s not too often that I have the chance to hear a photographer speak, so when Sara Krulwich visited our class, I must say that I was particularly interested in listening to her describe her experience photographing relatively high profile events. At mere glance, what her job entails seems pretty simple: photograph what’s going on. However, accomplishing such a goal (especially during live events) couldn’t possibly be as easy as one might think, and with her visit, Krulwich confirmed just that.

Take sports, a very large component of Krulwich’s early professional photography days; most would venture to say that shooting a sporting event wouldn’t be that difficult, yet after considering the importance of the millisecond, one would realize that getting the perfect shot isn’t so easy. And Ms. Krulwich wasn’t particularly afraid to admit that she struggled in the beginning to get it right. Citing missed boxing punches and missed swings in baseball, she didn’t hide from her mistakes, rather she worked and improved them ultimately working in some of the most high profile sporting events in the world.

Everyone thinks that they can take the ideal shot, in reality though, most cannot get one right let alone hundreds or thousands during a particular event. They are called professional photographers for a reason, and it is for that same reason that none of Joe Schmo’s photos are printed in the NY Times. While others may take different thoughts away from her presentation, Sara Krulwich’s talk eventually taught me one thing: I’d much rather be watching and enjoying the game/play/event, than photographing every other second of it.

December 13, 2010   No Comments

Sara Krulwich

To be Frank, I was not expecting much when I was told that a New York Times reporter would be coming in. I thought it would just be another boring person giving us a lecture about how to take photographs or how to interview people, that was something I was unwilling to sit down for. It was only until she revealed that she was an arts photographer, was when she my interest escalated.

I go through the arts section of the New York Times several times a week and I admire many of the pictures that are taken. I believe that it takes great skill to capture a moment of dance or movement into a still frame. Because I also perform I was particularly interested in how other people convey the powerful movements that dancers do. As she explained how she used different techniques to take pictures involving shutter speeds and begging for access to specific shows, I became intrigued by the history behind reporting. However, luckily enough she went on to explain that as well.

She told the class how she became a very controversial photographer at the University of Michigan for being the first woman reporter to walk onto the field during the 60s. It was no surprise that the crowd was in an uproar because sexism was very prevalent during the 60s. Sara told the class that she had to be escorted out of the stadium. She said the stadium did not allow woman or dogs to walk onto the field, noting that women during the 60s were compared to be as low as dogs. Ever since then, Krulwich challenged the cultural norms, even getting a job at New York Times, when it was considered having women reporters was scandalous.

As the class was coming to an end, she noted another very important detail; she was the mother of one of my classmates. At this point my fondness towards her grew with no bounds. It was hard to take in that one of my friends in High School who had a mother who contributed in her own way to women’s rights.

December 12, 2010   No Comments

Sara Krulwich: A Photo that Defines Who I Am

If I had a chance to depict my life with a photo, which image would I choose? Even though my facebook profile album is overflowing with funny, yet meaningless photos of myself as a moderately reckless college kid, I could not come up with a definite moment in my life that would describe my personality, philosophy and dreams as a whole. However, Sara Kruwich is different; in my last IDC class, she opened up her speech about her career and life with a photo of herself.

In the photo that changed her life, 18-year-old Sara Krulwich was smiling in a giant Mexican hat in the middle of the football field at the University of Michigan. As if she had no idea that she was about to be dragged out by gigantic football players from the field for illegally invading the men’s field, her smile was perfectly calm and comfortable. Growing up as a teenager and a young woman in the 1960s, sexism wasn’t a phenomenon, but reality to Sara Krulwich. No women and dogs were allowed to enter the football field at the University of  Michigan. However, the University soon accepted a dog as its mascot. While women were still uninvited, the dogs joined the crowd on the football field.  “Why can’t I?” Krulwich asked herself, “If dogs can enter the field, I thought, why can’t I?” This was the question that reinforced her to be the front-runner for changing the history, generation, and culture.

From that moment on, Sara Krulwich became“the first” and “only” in her career path as a woman photographer. She was one of the first women photographers working at the New York Times. She was the only woman photographer who worked on the sports field among the hundreds of men. For decades, she saw the world through a different perspective. She was able to develop a sharp focus and found reality in drama through her photos.  With a smile, she asked us to be courageous and be ourselves.

Now it’s finally the time for me to face the previous question again. I do not know how long it would take for me to find the “right” moment, but I am going to continue to move on with the courage that Sara Krulwich gave me today.

December 11, 2010   No Comments

Krulwich – Cool, Calm and Collected

Sara Krulwich walked into that classroom with an almost majestic presence. Her face is warm and familiar, and her eyes seemed to earnestly seek out everyone in the room. As she introduced herself, I was excited.

I did not know much about her, but had seen some of her work in the New York Times unknowingly. I read the Theater section for my weekly fix. After she came in, I’ve been noticing her name in a lot of the articles I read – and now I appreciate them so much more.

Her story was inspiring, to say the least; she took a hit for all the female photographers before her (all few of them). She had no reason to believe that she could make it as a photographer, as she wasn’t even allowed on her college football field. Sara’s do-it-yourself attitude led her to do great things, and be the first to do them.

Hearing her story come from her mouth so matter-of-factly and with a slight undertone of pride was so very impressive. She could have easily puffed out her chest and said, “Yeah, I am great.” But she did not. Instead, she left me with hope. Hope that I could do the same, but I would not have to. I would not have to because she paved the way for other women to follow in her difficult footsteps.

When she explained her first interactions with her camera, I could imagine her in a room fiddling around with a DIY film developing kit – because I’ve been through the same thing. For hours on end I would dabble with buttons and settings, experimenting. When I started with film I would sit in a dark room with no experience and just go for it.

She gives me hope that if I keep up with it, maybe my photography could blossom into more than just experiments. Sara did not go out on crazy trips around the world to follow poverty and crime in third world countries, and she did not spend her time taking avant-garde pictures of malnourished models. She takes pictures of what she knows and loves, and provides another medium for fellow theater-lovers to appreciate it more. And on top of that, she did it FIRST.

December 9, 2010   1 Comment

Sara Krulwich Review

Women who made waves in the field of equal rights tend to have interesting stories but often with a similar voice and message with major feminist undertones. For this reason I generally find these types of figures frustrating to listen to. Sara Krulwich however, was nothing like this. Her recent presentation was one of my favorites this semester because of the degree to which she presented herself as human.

Krulwich’s greatest asset seems to be her guts. She politely mentioned that she liked our street photography but explained that if we really wanted to take part in the art form, we have to learn to get in people’s faces. Getting in someone’s face certainly seems to be an accurate metaphor for Krulwich’s life. The procedure she went through to become a respected figure on her college newspaper sounded just like her advice on how to take photographs.

I very much appreciate what she said because truth be told, people avoid attracting awkward attention to themselves like the plague. Going all paparazzi on a person is a thoroughly unattractive idea. At the same time I understand that without individuals who are willing to do that, we would not have some of the best-known and most beautiful photography that we do. Krulwich is an inspiration not just to people who are interested in photography, but also to people who want to make a name for themselves anywhere. Walking on eggshells is boring, and certainly not how a person manages to rise within an organization, be that organization a school newspaper, or a major corporation.

Meeting the photographer whose photo would be on the front page of The Arts the following day can only be described as awesome. Her examples of photography were exemplary. Krulwich has an impressive ability to transform a familiar stage into a focused piece of art. I specifically like the way she plays around with lighting, capturing whispers of shadows when she feels necessary and at other times eliminating all light but one face, or shape.

One of the most interesting parts of her talk was her explanation of what it’s like to shoot a final dress rehearsal. She could end up with thousands of shots, which she then must sort through in order to find the best ones. I never realized how tedious the job of a photographer is, and although recent modernizations have made her job easier, they certainly have not eliminated the long process involved. I do wonder if her job came at the cost of a certain level of loss of appreciation for the arts. She obviously no longer attends shows or operas on her own (because she’s constantly viewing some theater related performance), which feels sad in a way. Going to the theater should be an experience, a fond memory, not a blur.

I suppose her career provides readers of The Times the photo that makes them want to see this opera or that musical and make a memory of their own. It is obvious that Krulwich enjoys her job to a degree that few people experience, and the passion is clearly evident in her photos.

December 9, 2010   No Comments

Sara Krulwich

Image from:

Taken by: Sara Krulwich

I was excited for Sara Krulwich to come speak to our class because a quick google images search will lead you to some beautiful theatre photos that she has taken. When she came though, she showed that she had a lot more to offer than insight into theatre photography. She has a rich story and a history involved with the Women’s rights movement, as she fought to be let onto a stadium where women were not allowed to be so that she could photograph for her college newspaper. She told us about her first going into sports photography, which was not her passion at all, but eventually making it to theatre.

Even though she did not want to be a sports photographer, the experience showed her many things which actually help with theatre photography. In sports, you have to get the camera ready and be able to predict when something interesting is about to happen. If you just wait for it to happen and then click, you’ll miss the shot. The same applies for theatre photography because you always have to be one step ahead of what’s going to happen or else you’ll miss the shot that would’ve made the newspaper.

Her words are inspirational because they show that even when you’re stuck in a less than ideal situation, there’s always some way to learn and grow out of it for the future. It seems that she has it made now, her job requires her going to plays almost every night and photographing them. She also has had some cool experiences with work projects such as getting to shoot from behind the scenes which gives you a totally different perspective in a play.

Sara Krulwich is successful but remains humble, warm, friendly, and is quick to offer pointers to the beginners in photography of our IDC class. She told us not to be afraid to get too close. You might make some people uncomfortable, but if you stick to it you’ll have some great shots. I found that in my street photography project I stayed away from real people (I did representations of faces) because I was afraid to photograph them without their approval, and I didn’t want posed shots either. Next time I photograph I will certainly take her advice and see what I come out with.

December 8, 2010   No Comments

On Sara Krulwich

Photocredit to Sara Krulwich of NYTimes

Broadway performances are a sport. There is a sheer athleticism to the hustle and bustle on the stage, remarked Sara Krulwich, the first female photographer at The New York Times. Ms. Krulwich who discussed her monumental venture into photography also depicted the fusion between sports and theater photography.
Here portfolio matched her expertise, and she explained the process behind capturing the climax of a performance, whether a baseball game or a ballet.  You have to shoot ahead, she emphasized. The photographer shoots before the swing of the bat, at the very instance the player’s muscles begin to tense up. Theater photography requires the same sort of precision. When switching between slides of opera and ballet, Krulwich spoke of the difficulties in probing theaters for photography, having to challenge the mysticism and credulity of theater. Performers and directors had initially feared the damage uncensored exposure might bring to their performance.  The wrinkles that Krulwich may capture in a shot could strip a show of its believability, an incredible power that Krulwich uses sparingly. On the contrary, she isn’t set out to discredit a performance but to capture its best, leaving the criticism to the critics.
There isn’t much mystique to photography. “Sometimes I take fifteen hundred shots, hoping that I’ll get something good,” said Krulwich, who reminding us that while photography isn’t a precise art; it certainly requires vision, skill, and thought.
This is true of herself; she is a pioneer of photography in the historical sense. She usurped on the football field at the University of Michigan when women were banned from the field, yet dogs could perform tricks. She made a spectacle of photography and reporting as she propelled women’s rights in institutions of higher learning and established a diverse and reputable career along the way.

When viewing her photography of theater you can see how she manages to perfectly capture a climactic moment. This not only attests to her technique but to the versatility of photography in various settings. After all, Sara Krulwich is as versatile as her philosophy on life, convincing a room full on aspiring professionals to step out of their comfort zone. As she near several students face-to-face at an unorthodox range, her proximity made a clear point: photography prompts bold and unreserved observations, whether on the street, in the theater, or on the field. “You should be observant in everything you do.”

December 7, 2010   No Comments

No Fear

As Sara Krulwich walked toward the first row of students to show how close we should get to our subjects when taking photos, I could tell that she had a very outgoing and fearless personality.  She wasn’t concerned about getting close, and about doing something outside of the norm.  She was also able to connect with the class and create a comfortable environment, as she treated us photographers, and even complimented some of our works. Never in my life have I ever been complimented for my artwork, so when Sarah Krulwich, a renowned photographer for the New York Times complemented some of my photography I was both happy and surprised.  It is this personality that allowed Sara Krulwich to have a successful career as a photographer, as she took huge strides for women in what was at the time, a prominently male field.

During her classroom visit she showed us many of her photographs that she had taken or had been take of her.  One of the photos that stuck out to me was of her at the Michigan football game, where she is the lone woman on the field.  She was trying to take photos for the college paper, and in order to do so, she had disregarded the rules, which stated that women weren’t allowed on the football field.  This photo exhibited her as both brave and progressive. What I found most interesting about her was her ability to make the most of her opportunities.  When she first started off as a photographer, she was assigned to photograph sporting events.  She talked about the difficulties she dealt with in photographing sports, which included the lack of sports knowledge, and the criticality of timing.  If you are early or late, even by a split second, you will not be able to capture the moment you are looking for.  Although it was tough, she learned the ins and outs of photographing the fast paced action of sports.  Later in her career, she was able to bring this same style to theatrical photography, which has resulted in some fantastic, action-packed photographs.

December 7, 2010   No Comments