Our Duty as Photographers

This post is simply some of my thoughts on the role of photography and consideration of what photography (and the duty of photographers) has become.

To record the extra-ordinary.

I refer to the key moments and events that occur within history and everyday life, that exemplify the beauty and importance of singular moments, big or small, that shape and define the every day lives and struggles of people, either as individuals or as nations.

It is our duty to capture the moments that change or highlight the course of human history, or society, and our place within the world. Examples of this include images of the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the Normandy Landing on D-Day.

To create the extra-ordinary from the ordinary.

Our second duty as photographers, is to record the everyday, or ordinary, events of life in a manner that highlights the importance of the mundane (I'm not talking about posting your lunch on instagram). These are the moments that occur between the pivotal points of history, and are no less important because of this. These are the quiet moments that lead to the creation of the extra-ordinary. This is the recording of our development as a society and our contextual history.

It is our responsibility to carefully examine the elements of 'mundane' life and use our ability to capture images to highlight social issues and bring these issues to the attention of the public. To use our skills to 'bring into the light' and force discussion of, sometimes, controversial or unpopular topics for the consideration of an apathetic or uneducated public.

In modern times this duty is mostly take on by photo-journalists and documentary makers.

Modern advertisement has taken this duty and developed it as a method to create branding and education of products and services.

And of course we as photographers have used this ability to create and advertise ourselves as a service.