The word photography comes from two different ancient Greek words, photos (light) and graphé (drawn by lines), composing a final “drawn by light”. A free extrapolation of its etymology let us know one of the main purposes of photography, creating light where there is darkness.
When the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 ended, the Chinese Government sent tanks to stop the demonstrators, which had a huge impact on our collective minds. In the 80’s, China had started to open to the world but this massacre gave up international loans and investments. Tourists stopped arriving and China was no longer seen as a victim of Soviet Union but a repressive state which needed to be reminded that we were not in medieval times anymore.
Obviously, China didn’t want international journalists to cover its in-humane behavior; however, an American reporter and a Spanish cameraman were able to provide us the impacting tank vs. man picture-. It was also one of the first times a mobile phone was used to send news back home to let the world know the gravity of the situation. The student facing the tank in Tiananmen was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people of 20th century by Time magazine proving that collective social shooting started.
Journalists and professional photographers are often criticized when they depict something terrible for not getting involved, like the 1993 Pullitzer Prize winner issue. The picture was a starving African child lying on the ground. The picture won the prize (viewer discretion is advised) after its release in The New York Times, but neither the photographer nor the audience were happy. On the bright side, the world was shaken when we find out what was going on in Sudan and our reaction started to change things for the better. Despite being harsh, social shooting is helpful in letting our eyes know the truth.
Luckily, we not only react to suffering but to many other feelings that 20th century iconic photos provoked in us. Most of us will always carry in our minds a glowing Martin Luther King Jr. dreaming a dream in 1963 and “drawing light into the world” or some brave men raising a flag for peace in Iwo Jima, an iconic photo of WWII and one of the most famous world photos ever.
Maybe you still remember a 1997 British film that depicted a bunch of unemployed guys in Sheffield who made ends meet with as much clothes on their backs as when they were born. Full Monty was a huge success and it set a pattern for common groups of people to make naked-calendars to raise money for NGOs. The typical calendars of firemen may be the most popular, but some people has pushed the envelope to achieve great things.
One of these cool ideas was taking beautiful pictures of abandoned dogs, publishing them on the Internet so people would adopt them. This happened just a few months ago at an animal shelter in California, but it’s the perfect New Year’s resolution for animal-loving photographers.
From NH Hoteles we love sharing and doing our bit, don’t forget to check out our Instagram photo contest #WakeUpPics a fun and inspiring way to share Wake Up moments showing a brighter tomorrow, one we can all making possible.
Anyone can start a social shooting campaign and be successful, don’t hesitate! Photography for social change is a growing trend and perhaps anyone can change the world with a smartphone camera!