Tuesday, February 08, 2011
This post is long so I want to start by getting to the point.
For as long as I can remember holding a camera, I have wanted to use it as a tool for GOOD. In college I really thought about documentary and war photography, but I struggled with the lifestyle and mostly with the subject matter. To be completely honest, I found myself very depressed about embarking on a life that would not be for me. I knew that if I went down that road, I might never see real happiness for myself. You may think that a lifetime of good deeds could bring only happiness, but it is in fact quite different when you are the one holding back your tears and swallowing the lump in your throat because you HAVE to shoot images of what is in front of you, no matter how tragic.
I have never been in a war zone so I cannot pretend to understand what the people in those places go through. In my short career as a newspaper photographer I did shoot car accidents, plane crashes, wildfires and random acts of violence. I saw a deranged husband shoot his wife and then himself and families running in terror as their houses burned to the ground. I shot funerals and crime scenes. One Sunday morning I found myself kneeling over the burned and lifeless body of a man who was just pulled from a private plane crash.
It was the news, it was what was happening and I had to report it. I had to make the photographs. Even without looking around I could feel the disdain coming off of every police officer and firefighter in the vicinity.
In their eyes, I was the scum of the earth.
In their eyes, this was a good morning for me because I had a story to report. I overheard one firefighter’s comment about how these people had families and didn’t I care about them at all. I felt so many horrible emotions that morning that I finally walked up to the fire Chief and told him face to face that I did not want to be there. I had no choice in the matter and that I would shoot the scene as fairly and respectfully as I could. I had a job to do just like everyone else and if my photos could help in their investigation they would have all access.
That move changed the tone for the scene and I was slowly accepted, but it didn’t make me feel any better about shooting it.
An hour later I was assigned to shoot a community tennis tournament. I showed up still down about the morning and realized I needed to be happy and approachable in order to gain access to the court and players. It was a hard thing to do, but I put on my happy face got what I needed.
All of this is not meant to bring pity on me for what I went through. I was not the one that died.
The point I am making is that I think some people are built to tell certain stories. There is no mistaking the James Nachtways of the world who spend their lives in war zones or tragic natural disasters. They do it because they are built for it. They see more human suffering than anyone else on the planet and manage to keep shooting. They do it because they owe it to the person in the photo to tell their story in hopes of change.
In college, I applied for an internship with VII Photo Agency to work under James Nachtway and his very like-minded compatriots. I made it to the second round of interviews but never heard anything further. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and the world seemed to open up for me. That was when I knew I wasn’t built for tales of human suffering.
I have since put all of my efforts into the adventure and outdoor world of imagery, but there has always been something missing.
Maybe I wasn’t built to tell stories of tragedy and despair, but I was built for sharing tales of GOOD; stories of GOOD people doing GOOD things.
I have been waiting patiently since that realization, hoping for something to come up; a story, an assignment or a project someone pays me to go shoot.
I have waited and I have realized that you should never wait to do something GOOD.
They say timing is everything, but it never seems like the right time to take a risk. You can talk yourself out of it every time thinking that way. That is why I have decided to pursue a personal project and head to Uganda to share a story about an amazing person doing amazing things. I would love to tell more about the story, but nobody really wants to hear the ending before they watch the movie.
If you are truly interested and want to learn more about this big undertaking and how you can be a part of it, please click on the image below. If you cannot donate, the very best thing you can do is help spread the word.
I feel strongly about this and am taking on this project whether I reach my funding goal or not. The donations will determine how far we can go with the project or how much I am in the whole after it is all said and done. Please help spread the word.
- Posted by Trevor Clark
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