By Hamda AlHashemi (@Hamda_Alhashemi)
A portrait of a laughing girl, a macro shot of a hanging medallion, a landscape of beautiful mountains of the Himalayas, and then all of a sudden, my eyes rest on one particular photograph, a picture of a 7-year old African boy, standing in the rain, with ragged clothes. He seems cold, afraid, and terrified. There is not much creativity in the picture, no color, and the composition itself is not extraordinary. I wondered for a while, why did I stop at this picture? And then came the answer. This photograph carries something so precious and unique, it carries the truth.
Photography is a very amusing kind of art, and one that can be used in so many ways. In my opinion, photography is a method of translation where the photographer transfers his vision and what he clearly sees and experiences, through the camera lens. If we all look at a scene, any scene, we will all see distinctive things. Each one of us has gone through different life experiences, and have had different influential elements that shaped who we are.
Jogien Bakker is a photographer who posts his work on www.socialdocumentary.net. This website posts photographs taken by different artists, and they all have one goal, which is to deliver the truth. We read it in the newspapers, we see it on TV, and we hear it on the radio. Hearing about the global problems of humanity has become part of our daily routine. We empathize for our fellow brothers and sisters, we want to help, but never do. These photographers have decided to tell the world what these unfortunate people are going through, throughout visual narrative and visual illustration. Each photograph is a story of a person, a family, a community; and a story of crushing humanity.
Bakker posted a series of photographs under the title “A Car Window Perspective on the World”. All of the photographs taken in this category were from his car window. Seeing them I felt like I was in that car, witnessing the suffering of these less fortunate people, but I could not help them. I was isolated from them in this car, in my own world, helpless.
Satoro once said, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Sometimes we imprison ourselves in our bubble and we forget about everyone around us. We forget about the young boy whose family got shot in front of his innocent eyes, we forget that father who works tirelessly to feed his family, we forget that mother that lost her child in the midst of war. We forgot our brothers, we forgot our human bond, and we forgot our natural urge to help.
When I look at the pictures of these people, I immediately feel ashamed of myself. I have a roof over my head, and food that will keep me alive for a long time, and I have a family that loves me. Out there, are people who are struggling just to get through the day, and we whine about the silliest most trivial matters. If not help these people; should not we at least learn something from them? Appreciate what you have, for what one might not see important in his life, can be the worst thing to lose.
“It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness,” (Paul Stand). Looking at a photo is not always about enjoying the composition. Sometimes the photograph carries memories that need to be remembered, sometimes it is about documenting an event, sometimes it is about promoting a product, and sometimes, it is about opening our eyes, and our minds to the bigger picture. The lens is not only a mean to capture a moment, but a window to the soul. If one has a talent, why not use it to benefit others as well as his/her own? Sometimes God provides us with advantages to help those in need. After seeing those photographs I began to understand that I must appreciate and reuse the privileges I have wisely. For I have brothers and sisters out there who are calling for help.
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.