Images can at sometimes be striking, they are supposed to become a part of our collective consciousness and leave us each with questions about visual ideology. Photographs can help identify and make society aware of social problems all over the world including in the United States. Without the photograph — journalistic stories would carry no visual aesthetic — hence readers would only be able to read and the strong emotional connection might be lost. The human experience would be lost if it was not for the photograph and the vital stories across the globe would never be told. They need to be shared and as the years go by, we age with them, times change, and events unfold. Here lies the very reason for a photographer. Photographers can capture captivating images that shake the core of a human’s soul.
There is no standard definition of photography, because as photographers create pictures that match an overall creative vision of the world they are defined by their individual world view. A characterization that is built upon the methods of each photographer and their photographs, allowing each one to be diverse within their own culture as well as expanding into other cultures. Through the medium of photography, a photographer is able to dwell deep into a wide array of interests as the spectrum is vast, making the art of visual images ever more important each day.
My degree of humanism within photography has grown. My core focuses of photography have changed and my concerns with human values and the value of a photograph continue to evolve. When photographing life in front of my eyes, the lives of others, an exploration into a stranger’s life and their story allows me to connect with my subject. Every day the lives of people are filled with clutter, stress, anxiety, and the general struggles of life. Global conflict and economic downfalls are appearing all over the world and it beckons to be photographed. There are photographic assignments that lead photographers into the inner sanctum of human souls. Some document tragedy while others find tranquility within the confines of such hard times. Half way across the globe photographers are putting themselves in harms way to capture truth and share a story with the rest of the world… This matters, as it is important that each and every one of us understands what is going on in the world that we live in and through the medium of photography, a visual image can reach out to anyone.
On a global basis… Here are a few photographers to keep in mind. Mary Ellen Mark. A very influential photographer with a vast degree of humanism. Her travels document so much about the lives that she is seeing and interacting with. She has written a few photo-essays that explain about her photography and her surroundings. Her sense of photojournalism goes beyond the call of duty from the pictures. Her photography has addressed such social issues as homelessness, loneliness, drug addiction, and prostitution. She works primarily in black and white.
Walter Astrada is another one. “He offers images daring the world to try and turn their eyes away as if these problems do not exist.” The quote sums up everything, but the images are difficult to look at.
I have had the great pleasure to sit in on one of Kate Brooks lectures, she is a war and conflict photographer that puts herself in the heat of battle for the photo, to show people around the world the truth of conflict; to document it. With her camera by her side she captured a side of post 9/11 that most of us haven’t seen. What she is documenting is necessary and important. She is just as much a hero as the troops fighting for this country. With her cameras by her side she is capturing images that are necessary.
Lastly is James Nachtwey. A humbling war and conflict photographer, his photographs also focus on critical social issues. Just as much a hero as Kate Brooks, James Nachtwey’s images can be difficult to swallow, but they are imperative to the human race when trying to understand the stories that lie within them.