Philosophers have been blamed for just trying to understand the world instead of trying to change it, while photographers have been accused of just trying to collect it. However, Photography and Documentary are two words that don’t necessarily go together. Any type of photographer should use their tools to question the present and offer their audience a different perspective on the issues that they care for the most. Every time we press the shutter, we must ask ourselves why are we doing this and how is my work contributing to making this a better world.
I know that this is easier said than done, especially if you are a commercial photographer. We all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, and we can’t just go around hand-picking all the projects in which we get involved.
Also, it is very naive to suggest that we can inform all the projects we get involved in or that we can influence all of our clients with the way that we see the world. However, these are certainly things that we can try to do as much as we can even if it’s not possible a hundred per cent of the times.
Nevertheless, there are changes that we can definitely do to our businesses right now to have a positive impact on the world:
Become ethical and sustainable brands ourselves. Promote our ethos in our narratives and the changes that we are doing to our businesses to influence those who follow us on social media and our online channels. That way, clients and peers will learn where we stand on the issues that we care for, and that may also influence them to make changes in their businesses. You might even get new business from like-minded brands.
Take advantage of the slower times of the year to work on personal projects that have social impact and motivate change.
Write a blog and tell our readers about what moves us and how we are changing the world through our photography work.
Take time off to volunteer our time to work with organisations that are working on a cause in which we strongly believe.
And probably the most important thing that we can do is look in the mirror and ask ourselves why are we doing what we are doing and how are we contributing to the world. And, if we are not contributing at all, ask ourselves what changes do we need to make for our work to start having impact.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the times when we sat down just waiting for someone else to change the world are long gone. This is the time to act, and you don't have to be an activist to make change. We can all have an impact on the world.
Photo credit: behind the scenes taken by Nicole Gray.
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