The Role of the Photographer.

This photo evokes an emotion, an instant reaction, and immediate meditation. Kevin Carder took this picture during the Sudan famine in 1994. The conditions that he saw there eventually lead to his suicide.

Cartier-Bresson said it right! No matter what a person is doing– walking down the street, facebooking, or reading a magazine, when a photograph gets into their field of vision, it’s an instinct to look at it. The second someone looks at a photo, they will have a reaction. If someone is looking through a newspaper, usually stories with a photo will get the most attention.They might think, “hey, that’s a nice car,” if they see an ad in their magazine. A photo of their friend’s cute dress on Facebook might make them “like” the picture. Some pictures might be seen and ignored. But sometimes, a photo will be more than these basic reactions. Sometimes, a photo can make you feel something deeper inside. A photo that evokes a true emotion, be it happiness, anger, or depression are the photos that will be remembered, if only for a little while.

It’s hard for me to separate my role as a viewer and as a photographer. Because I am so immersed in the world as a photographer, I can’t look at a photo as a viewer might. When I see one of those emotion-evoking photos, I stop and ask myself, what is this photo trying to tell me? What is the story? Why should I feel this emotion? And as a photographer, I know that my photos should be conveying these same ideas to the viewer. That is my responsibility and my obligation to the world: To tell a story with just one or multiple images.  There are stories all around me. Without photographs, however, those stories may never be noticed.


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