Photography is a medium that absorbs almost everyone, they call it the universal language; a photograph can be read by anyone from any country or culture, and that not only gives us great power as creators, but also as people. And, as Uncle Ben said to Spider-man, with great power comes great responsibility.
We’re living a fascinating moment in the world of photography. Today there is no means of expression that is easier to access. Cameras are getting smaller and cheaper, almost all offering great image quality and even analog photography is resurrecting like a Phoenix from the ashes.
I am not a particularly optimistic (nor pessimistic) person, however, I think this trend is a great opportunity, since, with all this visual potential, we can do something important together, and that is where the part of responsibility comes in.
Whether you are an amateur or professional, you are a photographer, therefore, you speak photography and that gives you the opportunity not only to create something beautiful that you can share on social networks in exchange for a few likes, but to also tell stories, tear down barriers, give people a voice, explain places that others may not be able to reach.
You can become the reporter of your own adventures.
There is a concept in neuroscience called neuroplasticity. In broad strokes, it refers to our brain’s ability to continuously change throughout our lifetime as we learn new things. So basically, when we learn photography we are changing the shape of our brain and therefore also the way in which we see and experience the world. As many of you have already noticed, when you are traveling or walking down the street you see lights, shadows, textures, moments … You are experiencing the world in a way that can only be explained through photography. Wouldn’t it be great to use this language to show others a small portion of our reality? To teach others the realities we may be able to access but others not?
“I use what I know about the formal elements of photography at the service of the people I’m photographing—not the other way around. I’m not trying to make statements about photography. I’m trying to use photography to make statements about what’s happening in the world.” – James Nachtwey
I’m not saying that we all have to go document the war or that we should put ourselves in situations of risk, what I’m saying is that we have the potential of a universal language, and it is (in my opinion) our responsibility to use our voices and our vision for something more than the instant gratification of some likes. There are hundreds of extraordinary stories out there that deserve to be told and we have the power to tell them.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all put our photography at the service of the people or places we photographed?
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