Expanding the Circle: The Engaged Photographer


It’s the challenge to move people and connect people and find ways that people can be, engage meaningfully. The expectations for a photograph are very great. And, it’s not just in the composition that a photographer might achieve all that they would hope for. It’s just the beginning point. It’s not just the single photograph it’s a multitude of photographs. It’s sequencing, it’s creating space for those photographs. I think we seek opportunities for people to respond to the photography. And then the question is, what do they do? What’s our hope for a photograph? How much can a photograph carry the meaning of what we’ve seen? I think photography has huge potential to expand the circle of knowledge. There’s a reality that we are all the more linked, globally, and we have to know about each other. I mean, photography gives us that opportunity. Can we really point to things that have actually changed because photographs were made? I mean this is always the, the dilemma and the challenge and the hope. The heart of it is we are focused, more aware, more able to act when the opportunities come. Having the little flame burning as a photographer, you have to have that little light that guides you. I don’t go into the field as an advocate. I go into the field to make a discovery. I don’t start with the mission I start with what is going, the question, what is going on? What can I see, what can I show and convey through the photographs? And then it’s, with whom can I partner if that seems appropriate for that work to have an additional life, which could be in a life of advocacy or life tied to an issue targeted in a very particular way, whether it’s to policy makers or to a public. You have to keep documenting at the same time asking those questions. And seeking, as I said, really opportunities to create possibilities for engagement. That’s where the understanding is key, if we’re going to be able to build bridges. And I do think photography is a lot about creating the bridge. People still have to walk over it. I think photographers are the people who perceive the bridge as a possibility, and it goes back to that hope that people will feel the connection. And that connectivity is, is the opening of the door.

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