FiftyCrows Blog

Social Change Photography

affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change -Ed Kashi’s Story

leave a comment »

Consider the metaphor of a grain of sand: one grain in a thousand is insignificant, while it can also be unique in shaping everything that it touches. Now apply this idea to photography. Countless photographic images give us a consciousness about what is going on in the world, but our lives are awash with powerful images, most of which fall away by day’s end. A sub-clause to the metaphor: even if that one image (grain of sand) does produce an emotional response, it is rare the feeling that the image elicited will inspire action.

But what happens when one grain of sand (image) gets stuck in your eye so persistently that you must make a move to change the way you feel? The affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change series will feature stories from photographers and friends of photography that share how one image affected an individual to make a profound effect in the world.
Our first story comes from internationally renown photojournalist and close friend of FiftyCrows, Ed Kashi. It is close to impossible to make a short list of Kashi’s credentials as he has worked extensively in Israel, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Europe, and the United States, to name a few and often shoots stories for National Geographic and the New York Times. During a three year period, Kashi documented the effect of the oil industry on the people and environment of Nigeria which he titled Curse of the Black Gold. Although Nigeria has one of the highest oil revenues in the world, most of the people live on less than one dollar a day. Kashi gives a brief recount about one of his photographs that created change for a boy in Nigeria:

-1

“A month or so after it came out we got a call from a woman named Betty in upstate New York. She asked for a copy of the picture and we thought, Oh gosh, this is some crackpot. (Because the image is so intense) Anyway, we gave her a copy of the picture and then six months later she contacted us and she said, “I just want you to know that through my church I found that boy and he is now enrolled in school and I’ve extracted him out of this absolute dead end – because this job, which was also a very dangerous and unhealthy job … and now he’s going to school.” When those things happen…. I’ve been fortunate that that’s happened a few times in my career so far where there’s actually an image or a body of work that catalyzed action.”

Advertisements

Written by Zara Katz

September 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: