Capturing beauty, among other things

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We, as humans, are flawed beings; in some instances, very flawed. We’ve all been immoral or have made an immoral decision at least once in our lives, maliciously or otherwise. But why? To benefit ourselves? To inconvenience others? Simply because we’re horrible people?

Alright. Think of this: you’re a photographer. A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens. Now, I’ve talked to other photographers/videographers about this so I know that I’m not the only one: I start seeing everyday life as if it were a photo. I literally look at people an envision them in my camera frame, pick focal points, imagining apertures and picturing how movement would look with an open shutter. I don’t even deliberately do it; it’s subconscious. In a lot of ways I’m thankful for this in that I see minute things as being beautiful.

But here is the issue: imagine you saw life the way I do. You couldn’t help it. You travel to Sudan to photograph nature and whatever else life decides to present to you. Okay, now imagine this: you see a very small, malnourished African child starving on the ground. Only a few feet behind this girl is a vulture, fixated on her.

Right now, I can tell you that everyone else on the internet world is saying they would put down their camera and help the little girl. However, you can’t forget: we are flawed beings who make immoral choices, maliciously or otherwise. This is the issue of famed photojournalist Kevin Carter, who took this iconic photograph:

Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph

He later won a Pulitzer prize for his work. Shortly after that, he committed suicide.

Photos such as this one have sparked outrage and controversy on an extremely large scale. Why didn’t the photographer help? How could they simply stand off to the side while the subject held on for its own life?

Kevin Carter is not alone: photographs from maybe world events have produced the same reaction (Holocaust, September 11th, genocides, riots, depressions) and with great reason.

As immoral people, we cause issues of our own: wars, murder, isolation, and the list goes on.  These photographers see what they do as capturing life, and realize that life isn’t all beauty.

 

(Photograph from Kevin Carter)

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9 thoughts on “Capturing beauty, among other things

    thadley3384 said:
    September 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    There is always going to be a question of what morals really are. We all have different ones. You make an excellent point that it is hard to just hard to stand idle but it is also hard to give up an artistic asset like the photo you provided. I suppose depending on the person you just have to take things into perspective. Certainly something to think about.

    Meredith Winnett said:
    September 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    This is amazing. The reader really gets a sense of who you are with: “I start seeing everyday life as if it were a photo. I literally look at people an envision them in my camera frame, pick focal points, imagining apertures and picturing how movement would look with an open shutter.” I feel as though other photographers reading this post can relate to you in this way, which is how they get drawn in. It’s as though you’re establishing a common ground with them. Nothing about this post was unclear to me. I do, however, wish you had added your feelings on taking controversial pictures to expand a little. The way I see it, the picture Carter took of the malnourished child can open eyes to the state of the children in Sudan and potentially all of Africa. This photo has attracted attention from enough people that he won a Pulitzer prize. It makes me wonder how many people were inspired to go help. Adding a blurb like that can also expand your voice to continue the conversation with the reader.

    eltonnieb1992 said:
    September 28, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    “imagine you saw life the way I do. You couldn’t help it. You travel to Sudan to photograph nature and whatever else life decides to present to you. Okay, now imagine this: you see a very small, malnourished African child starving on the ground. Only a few feet behind this girl is a vulture, fixated on her.” This passage right here is depressing because there is a child on the ground starving. This passage is also intense because there was a vulture near the girl. Just based on the fact, that worries me because I was worried that the vulture attacked that little girl.
    “I start seeing everyday life as if it were a photo. I literally look at people an envision them in my camera frame.” Right here, you should add a “d” to the word, “an.”
    This post just makes me angry by the fact that most people don’t even bother to help people who are in desperate need of help. I wish people would just help one another more often.

    ksmith313 said:
    September 29, 2013 at 1:10 am

    1.”Think of this: you’re a photographer. A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens”

    What I like here is how you put the reader in the scene imagining themselves taking a picture. The voice here places the reader in a photographers seat which is neat.

    2. Your clarity is very good.

    3. I was very engaged in this story especially since you put me in the prospective of the photographer. Very cool.

    bobmarket said:
    September 29, 2013 at 1:36 am

    “As immoral people, we cause issues of our own: wars, murder, isolation, and the list goes on. These photographers see what they do as capturing life, and realize that life isn’t all beauty.”

    The voice is really clear here.I know because I sat back and thought “I’m not an immoral person. How dare he lump me in with some immoral people.” and then I thought, “Oh well done writer. Well played.” Because I’m totally an immoral person too. But I like the two thoughts here, and agree with the sentiment.

    “Alright. Think of this: you’re a photographer. A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens. Now, I’ve talked to other photographers/videographers about this so I know that I’m not the only one: I start seeing everyday life as if it wtere a photo. I literally look at people an envision them in my camera frame, pick focal points, imagining apertures and picturing how movement would look with an open shutter. I don’t even deliberately do it; it’s subconscious. In a lot of ways I’m thankful for this in that I see minute things as being beautiful.”

    Here you introduce a hypothetical situation, but then immediately digress from it for a long aside about the differences between real and fake photographers and also get into your own philosophy on photography. I think this would work much better if you put for the hypothetical situation completely first, then made a separate section about your philosophy, the way it’s all stacked on each other is a little confusing and hard to follow. Plus there’s better, more succinct, comparisons that can be made to prove one’s a professional versus an amateur.

    joecompagna said:
    September 29, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Your voice really comes through when you say “Alright. Think of this: you’re a photographer. A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens.” It shows your appreciation for the arts and your passion for this subject.

    “literally look at people an envision them” did you mean to say “and” instead of “an”?

    jfrank8590 said:
    September 30, 2013 at 3:13 am

    The voice in this post is relatable. Through your language I understand your personality. “A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens.” Your post was very clear,and for myself kind of eye opening. I have a cousin who is a professional photographer and she describes life in a very similar manner. I always found it fascinating, however I like how you show the potential negatives of this trait. Great job!

    jcast01109 said:
    September 30, 2013 at 5:24 am

    With voice it sounds really passionate with photography. With clarity it sounded really good.

    adiplante said:
    September 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    “We, as humans, are flawed beings; in some instances, very flawed. We’ve all been immoral or have made an immoral decision at least once in our lives, maliciously or otherwise. But why? To benefit ourselves? To inconvenience others? Simply because we’re horrible people?” This really relates your post to it’s reader. It’s great. The whole post is very sad, but it makes you think! It is awesome that you included the photo you were talking about because it really gets the reader right in the feelings. The reader is able to connect to your post. It’s sad, but awesome.

    I also think that you should put “(Photograph by Kevin Carter)” right below the photo, but that’s just my opinion.

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