FiftyCrows Blog

Social Change Photography

affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change – Lourdes Segade gets a response from the media

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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.

Barcelona based photographer, Lourdes Segade offers a story to the affect/effect Series that highlights how one photo essay can catalyze different media sources to produce stories on the same topic. In turn, this generates greater awareness about an issue by expanding the viewing population. Lourdes speaks about this cause and effect as an important factor in order to really make an impact.

“The story that I wanted to show was that a ‘small’ (as they call themselves) can be as good a mom as a non-handicapped woman. It wasn’t easy to find a dwarf mother with a little child but the president of one achondroplasy association in Spain gave me the telephone number of Lorena, the mom with whom I shared lots of time and experiences while shooting my story. Three years later we still keep in touch.

Lorena, a woman in her early thirties, was then unemployed and devoted to her child, Adrián, a 3 year-old wild child. Every day was an adventure with him. I went to the Canary Islands and spent 20 days with them. The story was published one year after we returned. Magazine ‘Yo Dona’ gave six pages to it and also a short video of the child made from short pieces I had recorded. They also asked me to write about my personal experience with that family for the website.

I wanted to let people know about achondroplasy and show that ‘dwarfs’ live as good a life as non-handicapped people. I never expected the reaction that I received from publishing the story. The weeks following the publication of my story, Lorena received calls that another magazine wanted to interview her and reporters from a TV station wanted to follow her family for a day. A handball team wanted to shoot a photo session with the members of the achondroplasy association for their annual calendar in order to create funds for the group.

The association members were very happy, and so was I because I had caused the effect of making more people aware. When I shoot, I tell stories that I think should be known but I never expect my photos to lead to any reaction. Although it was not one photo creating a change for Lorena, the photo essay catalyzed a greater awareness and support for ‘smalls’ in society. By having other media groups produce more stories about dwarfs the net becomes wider and wider of the number of people understanding the issue.”

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Written by fiftycrows

November 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Posted in affect/effect Series, Family

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One Response

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  1. What a moving story! I really respect the fact that you spent so much time with Lorena and her son. The relationship you built with them and the compassion and respect that you have for ‘smalls’ is evident in your work and the reaction to it. Bravo!!

    Angie Brown

    April 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm


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