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Affect/Effect: Photographs That Create Change – Susan Meiselas discusses all potential of photography

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“We have to know about each other. Photography gives us that opportunity.”

-Susan Meiselas

This is an amazing video where Magnum photographer and Open Society Institute – Moving Walls co-curator Susan Meiselas talks about the impact that photography can make on social consciousness. Her personal website is also very interesting as it includes an audio component on every page with her commentary on her work and photography in general. The Open Society Institute is an extremely important resource for documentary photographers with grants, fellowships, exhibitions, online multimedia and portfolios, and a resource center for a multitude of social programs.

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Written by Zara Katz

April 8, 2010 at 10:25 am

Affect/Effect: Photographs That Create Change – Phil Borges, A child in a far away photograph is given an education

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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.

PHIL BORGES

In 2007, FiftyCrows presented an exhibition called Women Empowered, a photography project by Phil Borges, who combined images and stories of courageous women from developing countries. Rooted in his astonishment for the high level of gender discrimination around the world, he wanted to offer examples of women “whose bravery and determination allowed them to move from victim to leader, and speak to the universal themes of courage, empowerment and human rights.”

Another incredible project from Phil, entitled Enduring Spirit was created in conjunction with Amnesty International’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Once again, each of his images was accompanied by a short story about the person and what they do in their daily lives. One of Phil’s images, of a six-year-old girl in Ethiopia struck a man named George so deeply that he was compelled to extend his help from around the world. Yet another moving example of how photography can create change in the world through an individual image.

Buzayan story is as follows: She is six-years-old and lives with her mother and three older sisters in a small Ethiopian village. Her father took a job as a policeman in a neighboring town and later abandoned the family for another woman. Even though it is very expensive for her, Buzayan’s mother is committed to keeping all the children in school. When I asked Buzayan about kindergarten, she squealed with delight and started jumping up and down.

When George saw the image of Buzayan in the book titled “Enduring Spirit” he was so moved by the image of Buzayan that he felt he wanted to help her. He contacted us for information on how to reach her but we were only able to give him the name of the village she lived in. George’s health did not allow him to travel but he had a friend who was visiting Ethiopia and was willing to try to find Buzayan. The effort was successful. George was able to make arrangements to help cover the cost of Buzayans education which he did for several years.

Written by Zara Katz

January 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm

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.”

Written by fiftycrows

November 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Posted in affect/effect Series, Family

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Newsha Tavakolian – Iranian EVE Photographer

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tavakolian

Newsha Tavakolianas was born and raised in Tehran and started working for the Iranian press when she was 16 years old. She has covered stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India and Yeman. Newsha’s focus in her own country on personal issues of history, religion, and woman’s rights offers deep and powerful imagery of life in Iran. Newsha is represented by Polaris Images and is a member of Eve Photographers.

Here is a very interesting article in the Digital Journalist which Newsha wrote about photographing the recent earthquake in Pakistan. She ponders the issue that I explore in the affect/effect Series of if photography can create social change for the people that see the images and the people that are in the images.

Written by Zara Katz

November 11, 2009 at 3:48 pm

affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change – Karen Kasmauski: Nurse – A World of Care

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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.

Nurse_CoverThe work of Karen Kasmauski is the core of social change photography. Known as the “unofficial” global health photographer for National Geographic, Kasmauski has contributed 26 important stories to the publication on AIDS/HIV, malaria, malnutrition, immunization, reproductive health, overpopulation, and obesity. In her travels and work around the world she has also focused on the value of cultural differences and the role that women play in representing half the population. Most recently, Kasmauski has highlighted the essential work of nurses who provide the majority of human support in the world’s health care system. Her book, Nurse: A World of Care offers images of nurses caring for people in every stage of life. She illuminates how nurses are powerful leaders in many cultures as their care for humans impacts society, the economy, and the environment.

Seeing that Karen Kasmauski is a dynamic force in the world of social change photography, I asked her if she had a story to contribute to the affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change series. Her bottom line response was that she did not believe that one image could create change. Karen believes that it takes all the encompassing elements to catalyze change, from the photographer and the people in the photographs, to the corporate funders and the media sources that distribute the stories and images, to the people that view the images to understand the world around them.

In her venture to honor the nurses of the world, she collaborated with a journalist to gather detailed stories about what they do. In her images, she captures the action and emotion of the nurse and patient in a way that does not over dramatize the situation but conveys a tangible reality. While photographer and non-photographer alike can understand the powerful message of her beautiful yet poignant images, it is the universal nurse who is both affected and effected by these images. Through Karen’s photographs we can gain compassion and respect for the nursing profession and offer conscious support to the people that contribute to our health, our community, our environment, and our economy.

2007-1-3-Hospice Nurse-4_ 00182006-12-22-Ri-Man-1-0177

Here, one nurse offers her thanks to Karen and her visual homage to nurses:

“Being a nurse and being out in the community, [your book] spoke to my heart in an intense, dramatic way. It reminds me of how proud I am to be a part of this profession.

There are two things I truly want to say to you specifically. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this endeavor. It was an honor and a privilege to work with you on this project. Although you told me what the project was, it was difficult for me to grasp just how important and big it was. Secondly, seeing those other nurses from other parts of the world – doing what we do – wherever we are – it is undeniably clear that the common goal is the same….to care carefully for our patients, to be creative in that care when we don’t have everything we need, to be diligent in that care regardless of the depth of it, to be courageous in that care when others can’t (or don’t or won’t) be but most of all it is a reminder of our responsibility to treat people with the utmost dignity, to care for them well and to love them well.”

Sincerely,
Vallerie Martin
Community Hospice of Washington, DC

2007-10-30-Kiambiu A---00762006-03_Passage_Jamaica-07_150

Other links to Karen Kasmauski:

National Press Photographers Association article: Having an Impact

NPPA: Best of Photojournalism 2009 Honorable Mention Non-Traditional Photojournalism Publishing

Written by Zara Katz

October 1, 2009 at 10:13 am

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

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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.
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:

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“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.”

Written by Zara Katz

September 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm