James Nachtwey has had a huge influence on my thinking and my approach to photography. He is at the top of my list of people who inspire me.
On my list of “must-see” documentaries is War Photographer by Christian Frei. It follows James Nacthwey as he photographs war and social injustice.
Most inspirational to me is Nachtwey’s credo. It begins by asking a single question:
“Is it possible to put an end to a form of human behavior which has existed throughout history by means of photography? The proportions of that notion seem ridiculously out of balance. Yet, that very idea has motivated me.”
(view comments below for the entire credo)
This credo was one of the major inspiration points for the founding of The Artists Group at SnapFactory. I do believe that photography can change the world. I may only be able to make a small change, but I’m only one of millions of photographers. If we all strive for positive change those millions of small changes will add up to one big change.
Let me give you an example of one photographer I know who is quietly making a big impact here in Phoenix. Her name is Diane. Yep, my wife and partner here at SnapFactory. She hasn’t been shouting her charitable work from the mountain tops because for her it’s about saving the lives of animals, not fame and fortune.
Every week Diane drives over an hour to the Arizona Humane Society and photographs dogs, cats, and critters that are in need of adoption. The Humane Society then takes these photos and posts them on their website. The results have been amazing. Since Diane’s involvement at the Humane Society adoptions in the Lonely Hearts club have increased dramatically (I believe it’s 80%!!!).
The bottom line is that through her work Diane has saved the lives of many animals and have helped families find loving pets in the process. Diane is changing the world.
There are many ways photographers can use their talents to make changes. In 2007 James Nacthwey won the TED Prize and last year he started a new campaign against TB. And now he’s asking for your help.
I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age
You may not be James Nachtwey but I hope that you’ll be inspired to use your talents to make positive change in the world. Get out there. Do it.