The common phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words is one that dictates the livelihoods of every photo journalist. When text fails to evoke an idea or concept, it is the art of photography that never fails to shines bright. From what is shown to what is hidden, the use of technique and detail, it is the work of such that will leave audiences inspired, encouraged and influenced. Across the globe and on our own soil, photography is something that yields the power to speak to each and every person regardless of who they are or where they come from, something that links us all together.
It is evident that structured news stories do not effectively generate empathy or evoke heightened emotions in stories of war and conflict, at least to not the same degree of photography. Isolated from such trauma leaves audiences at the hands of journalists, susceptible and heavily influenced by their work.
This image was taken by world-renowned photographer Ron Haviv. The award-winning photo journalist has dedicated his life's work to documenting conflict and raising awareness about human rights issues around the globe. Take this image for example, what is seen here? The grief and despair in the aftermath of a Taliban shooting, a devastation usually unheard of. There are no faces here, no defining elements. Haviv evokes a sense of mystery in this regard, centralising the dominant woman at the centre of the image. Our attention is solely focussed on her and what she is feeling.
Such devastation is also conveyed in the works of Franco Pagetti, in his featured story of 'Afghanistan's Agony'. The black and white image pictures a young girl carrying a bucket of water along a muddy street in the old part of Kabul, Afghanistan. Placed at the edge of the photo, the young girl is a mere fragment of the image, over-ridden by the poverty and destruction that encapsulates her. She is blending with her background, and much like the deteriorating buildings behind her, she is being forgotten.
Then we see a man, riding his bicycle through a residential area of Kabul, destroyed by years of fighting during the civil war. The remnants pictured are taken with a wide angles lens, broadening the landscape and portraying the scope of destruction. These buildings were once someones home, an escape from the conflict that was outside their doors. All that has been destroyed would have been overlooked and forgotten if it was not for Gary Knight.
Each of these images attests to the central theme of the ongoing conflict, torment and devastation that inhibits Afghanistan. The war and its effects are both concepts we will never truly understand, though with each image we are exposed to we travel closer and closer. Such photography is essential and imperative to our understanding.
So when a photographer ask's to take your photo-