Hello friend. Today I want to talk about one of the many uses for photography, a tool to change the world. Photographs are capable of presenting the viewer a part of the world in order to make them feel something about what went on.
Social change is one of the most important uses for photography throughout its history.
One of my favorite practitioners of this kind of photography is Sebastio Salgado. Me and my family went to New York three years ago and during that time we saw Sebastiao Salgado’s Genesis series in the International Center for Photography. It was incredible. The photos were very large and beautifully printed. I never saw his work before that. It was an influential moment for me. After looking over the photos for hours (there were dozens, maybe a hundred of them), I bought his biography “From My Land to the Planet”. It was extremely interesting to read about his evolution from social documentary photography (he photographed refugees, displaced peoples, firefighters in Iraq oil fields etc.), to nature photography and life before civilization. He was sick of seeing what humanity could do after photographing refugees from Rwanda. He nearly died from the experience of being around so much death. I recently read shake hands with the devil by Romeo Dallaire, the commander of the UN forces before and during the genocide. I learned that this wasn’t an unusual thing to happen to people that visited Rwanda during the genocide, people broke down and couldn’t carry on. Salgado photographed the tragedies that needed to be seen in order for them not to be forgotten, now he photographs nature and the nearly eradicated ways of life that need to be seen so we don't forget there are alternate ways of living.
It's important to recognize the power of photography by looking at those that have worked extensively in the craft.
Salgado inspires me immensely. I think it’s important to It’s important for photographers to think about what it is that they’re capturing. Through photographs we can educate the world, we can tell stories to future generations. What is it that you want to say?