No paparazzi

Every day, the editorial staff at the UK wonders: What are we writing about, why are we writing about it, and how are we writing about it? A weekly look behind the scenes.

Every week, our photographer and international editor Traci White takes pictures – of (university) life – to serve as cover photos on Facebook or to be shared on Instagram. These photos can be of anything. A full UB, a new restaurant in town, Noorderslag, a still life – you name it. And judging by our statistics, these pictures are appreciated. They always generate many likes.

Photos tell a story, people identify with them and literally see themselves in them (although I have to mention that we received a request recently from someone who wanted their photo removed – but that’s beside the point). It gave us the idea to publish a photo series about everyday life at the RUG once every two weeks.


The kick off, we decided, would be a photo series on the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMNS). We had no plans to act like the paparazzi, to kick down the doors and force our way in somewhere that we weren’t welcome. On the contrary. We had announced our intention (to show the everyday life of studying and working at the faculty) and our visit beforehand.

We figured the people at FMNS would like this.

But even in mathematics, one plus one does not always equal two. When the first few photos had been taken, the faculty board suddenly decided they didn’t like the idea after all. In an email, they wrote that they had had ‘quite a few’ requests from people wanting to take pictures or make videos in their facilities.


What’s more, they have (completely understandable) safety rules, because ‘machines and substances are regularly being moved in our hallways and an outside person wouldn’t always be clear on what presents a danger’. That sounds quite exciting from a journalistic point of view, but at the end of the day, it was clear: no photo essay about or at FMNS. A shame.

Luckily, it was freezing cold. So Traci put on her toboggan and winter coat, wrapped a scarf around her neck and set out to do a photo essay on the wintry cold. It may not be as exciting as what’s happening in the hallways at FMNS, but at least it’s not as dangerous as ‘machines and substances being moved’.

Until someone slips and falls on the ice. But that’s a different story.

Rob Siebelink, editor-in-chief 



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