Look for the People, not just their Position

I listened to a presentation recently by photojournalist David Butow. Discussing his preparation and approach, he mentioned his intent to try to see the people themselves, the humanity and their emotions, rather than what side they’re on, their politics or position or authority. I thought that was excellent advice.

I’ve seen some very one-sided reporting recently, and maybe that’s fine if that’s the stated intent or the commission from a publication, to document one specific aspect of a conflict. I’ve also seen deceptive images. Not necessarily fake or manipulated, but that give the impression of something that isn’t happening because of the angle or composition.

Photos aren’t truth (one photo can’t tell a whole story), but they can be honest.

There have been many honest, stunning, heart-breaking, shocking, revelatory images shared this week. There’s plenty of noise (I’m finding Twitter exhausting at the moment and I don’t even follow that many people), but hopefully the real narrative of what’s going on in the US right now is pretty clear. But whoever you think is right and wrong, to be trusted or not, they’re real people, not just a badge or a banner.


Headshot, portrait, street and documentary photographer in NYC and Jersey City


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