Why do we do this?

This is an excerpt from a blog post over at Politics Theory & Photography. In my opinion, this particular passage concisely and accurately sums up one of the major challenges facing anyone engaged in activity to progress a cause (which includes photographers); that of what good their work is actually for.

...any plausible remedy to a major (or even not-so-major) public problem requires not just individual "awareness," but concerted, coordinated action. And that action must aim to remedy general patterns. Even if one were to insist that public awareness is a first step, it would be important to establish how - by what mechanisms - that public awareness could be coordinated into action or even support for action. All this is a political problem - one of constituting a 'we' out of the vast distribution of individual awareness. As political theorists as diverse as John Dewey and Michel Foucault and Hannah Arendt remind us, we should not be naive about the obstacles and difficulties that stand in the way here....

Read the whole post here.

I would say that one important part of my job as a photographer is to make images that represent something other people might not know about. If what the images represent is perceived as a problem (social or otherwise) then the task is to make people who can do something to remedy the problem aware.

More and more though I am beginning to think that it is not enough just to make people aware of something. You have to actually do something about it yourself as well. If you can't do it yourself, make sure your work is seen and/or you are partnered with someone who can.

Many photographers work this way, and I am certain that it is the way forward for photojournalism.

Indeed, it is the way forward for all of us.

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