Poor children - thoughts about photography
When I uploaded the last picture to my stream, somebody asked the following questions:
"Do you feel that you have some way to help or change the situation when you take these emotional images? That you wish you could help them? Do you get frustrated knowing that the problem is larger and that helping that one family or even that one village can't help the millions of others who have been impacted? Or have you learned to control those emotions and do what you do best -- document their plight and hopefully bring it to the attention of others through your amazing photography?"
Well, I've been thinking about it, and the answers are simple and difficult at the same time.
About changing the situation, or at least that wish, is a feeling you get immediately when you meet a person with those needs, even before than taking the image (the image is the least important thing in this matter).
A few seconds later, you realize that you cannot help them, furthermore than (maybe) a coin or some food, and you cannot help more than a few people a day (being very optimistic!). In fact, if you are in a public place and you give some money to somebody, immediately you will be rounded by a dozen of people asking as well.
You realize that the situation these people are living, is a matter of years, of generations doing things wrong, choosing the wrong way....because of politics, because of religion, because of money (the three of them could be included just in the last one).
You realize, you cannot change a lot from your point, but you can help a little by supporting an NGO (not really giving money directly if they are begging you for some), or making your community to support one. I know that after visiting G.A.F.F.E.R. in Maungu, Kenya, this summer.
You realize that, most people don't travel abroad, to places like Africa or India, so they won't see this poverty, so won't be conscious about it, so they won't be able to think they can help in some way... because wishing the best for these people WON'T HELP, because praying WON'T HELP, because feeling guilty WON'T HELP, because buying a lot of stuff from big companies WON'T HELP (and won't make you happier) ...because giving some money (it doesn't have to be a lot) HELPS, because travelling there and opening your mind HELPS, because not forgetting it HELPS.
For the last question, you can't control your emotions, because you are in that place, you are surrounded by noises, feelings, and what you are looking through is a just a camera, not a zoo glass. However, it is easier to take a picture of somebody from a third world country than from our "first world", children and adults there love to be photographed, it is a kind of gift for them, not like (the stupid of) us, so sometimes, when you take a picture and they smile, you feel a little better for that short moment of happiness.
Finally, just to say, that you will be shocked about the dignity of these people, about the respect they show you and their fight for surviving. People are the same around the world, the main difference is their environment, luckily, I have met brilliant people in poor countries and, unluckily, outstanding idiots, in the richest nations.
I hope this answers most of the questions about what do I think when I shoot.
Photography taken in Jaipur, India. From the window of a rickshaw, in a traffic light stop, she asked for some money...and photos, when she spotted the camera.
More at pakdock.com
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