There has been a paradigm shift in my work as a freelance photojournalist. The curtain of time has slowly been closing in on my life’s work. I am to believe that my prime has passed and my glory days are over. I’ve even been told that I am not millennial enough. But, as fellow photographer David Carol put it best: ‘No, I can’t think about my own death. It will happen, and I’m sure it will interrupt something I’m doing. At least, I hope it does.’ So heeding David’s words, I have no desire in retiring and until the day that I exit for the cosmos, I will create my own assignments on my own dime. How important is this you may ask ? For sometime I have witnessed the insidious disease of Oligarchy transmute our Democracy. I worry for my son and daughter, my grandchildren and future generations as the prospect of this social cancer kills the light of democracy. My skillset as a photographer is what I can contribute to stop this affliction to our society.
Inspired by James Natchtwey words, I heard the call and started using my skillset and give back to society. His words so resonated with me that I keep of copy of his speech on my iPhone, which I would like to share with you now.
Let My Photographs Bear Witness: “The war in Vietnam was raging; the Civil Rights Movement was under way; and pictures had a powerful influence on me. Our political and military leaders were telling us one thing, and photographers were telling us another. I believed the photographers, and so did millions of other Americans. Their images fueled resistance to the war and to racism. They not only recorded history; they helped change the course of history. Their pictures became part of our collective consciousness and, as consciousness evolved into a shared sense of conscience, change became not only possible, but inevitable. Visual journalism, can bring into focus both the benefits and the cost of political policies. It can give credit to sound decision-making, adding momentum to success. In the face of poor political judgment or political inaction, it becomes a kind of intervention, assessing the damage and asking us to reassess our behavior. It puts a human face on issues which from afar can appear abstract or ideological or monumental in their global impact. What happens at ground level, far from the halls of power, happens to ordinary citizens one by one.”
–James Natchtwey, Ted Talk 2007