OPINION- PHOTOJOURNALISM


 

The key to understanding the world is seeing it.

Last year I traveled the globe for 9 months. I left Australia hoping I would return a more informed, compassionate and educated person. But it turns out that the more you know the less you know and the more you see the less sure you are about what is right and what is wrong. Through traveling one becomes informed about the facades of other tiny worlds.

The problem for me was that some of these worlds are very different. I couldn’t fully  appreciate Morocco because my imperialist, feminist self felt I needed to save the female populations from their own culture. But who am I to judge a way of life against my own?

During my time in North Africa I slowly wore more and more clothes. Partly because the weather was getting colder but mostly because I was becoming less determined to prove myself as a strong, sexually liberated, Western woman. I just wanted to hide from the male gaze. Eventually I began to cover my hair and then my face.

The respect I got doubled. The enjoyment I had tripled. I was experiencing Arabic culture in a more submersed way and I began to see this world from different eyes. I was welcomed in by the people in a way that felt more genuine and by the time I left I found myself doubting whether Western culture is really that much more superior.

My point in telling this is to share my belief that you can’t understand the world unless you have experienced it. Hence, my inspiration to show the world through photographs. To shed light in dark corners, and inspire people to think more about global culture and less about their pockets.

The role of photographic journalism is increasingly important to society as governments’ advance their ability to cover up information and hide truths. Journalism has the ability to change this. Photographic and visual journalism has the ability to make people care and inspire people to seek change.

One of the most powerful documentaries I’ve ever seen is The Cove. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a documentary about the whaling industry in a small town in Japan. The cove manages to be exciting, horrifying and heart wrenching simply by being true and is a great example of why we don’t need fiction. There’s so many stories out there like this one but the sad thing is that many people just aren’t interested.

Food Inc is a more well-known documentary about the global food industry. The part that was most confronting for me was finding out that criticising the food industry in the US is illegal. It’s also confronting that there is a push to make taking photos of farming practices illegal to. To ban trespassing is one thing but to ban somebody taking a photo of a farm from the street is insane. Since Food Inc. was released the bill to ban photographing farms hasn’t gone through. Thank God.

I’m not a crier but this selection of photos is so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.

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