©Stephanie Calabrese Roberts
Caption: A young Koseli School student admires his teacher during a field trip to the Central Zoo in Kathmandu, Nepal. Koseli School is featured in Lens on Life: Documenting Your World Through Photography and a fair content partner in the book. To learn more about Koseli School, visit www.nepalkoseli.blogspot.com.
You can read an excerpt from Stephanie’s book “Lens on Life: Documenting Your World Through Photography” by clicking here…
Framing our view on the canvas of life, photographers express ourselves through the photographs we create. We make art. We share our vision. We fulfill our desire to create. But what if each of us carved out an area of focus for positive change? What if we used our photography skills as a form of advocacy?
I find that my most rewarding documentary work has been made in situations when I showed up simply because I believed in the good work of my subjects and the positive impact of their actions. This is the work I assign myself. Your ability to document and share an experience in a visually compelling way through photography is a gift. Consider sharing your time and photography skills with individuals, educational institutions, and/or non-profit organizations doing work you find inspiring and fulfilling.
As you think about approaching this work, particularly when photographing subjects living in material poverty or under challenged circumstances, the most important aspect of your work has little to do with your technical skills and the camera gear you bring to your assignment, and everything to do with the state of your mind and the composition of your heart. Treating your subject with respect as an equal partner bends your role from fleeting observer to trusted advocate. When you become a trusted advocate, your level of access to and comfort in working with your subject will grow, leading to more intimate and powerful images.
Stephanie Calabrese Roberts is an award-winning documentary photographer, best-selling author, and the creator of LittlePurpleCow Production. Her most recent book, “Lens on Life: Documenting Your World Through Photography,” challenges photographers of all levels to stretch their creative boundaries, explore new image-processing techniques, and define, plan and execute a documentary photography project. Prior to writing “Lens on Life: Documenting Your World Through Photography,” Roberts authored “The Art of iPhoneography: A Guide to Mobile Creativity” (Pixiq, April 2011) and co-wrote “Expressive Photography: A Shutter Sisters Guide to Shooting from the Heart” (Focal Press, December 2010). She’s also a member of Shutter Sisters, a popular online blogging community for female photographers, and the founder of the non-profit organization Lens on Life, Inc.
Text ©2012 Stephanie Calabrese Roberts. Book excerpt courtesy of Focal Press.