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I know that I have tackled the question of what makes a photographer. I get into a number of things that separate the fakes from the real deals. Now, I’m going to go a step further.

There are REAL photographers, than there are the photographers that change the world. These photographers are world renowned for a reason. They go way past the glamour. They have gone far beyond a comfort level many of us will never encounter, or understand. Their lives have actually been at risk. They go into the areas most wont.


Throughout my life, I have be able to see and do some great things. I set goals, and I achieve them. I remember how I set the goal to make it to Australia. Getting to Australia was a pipe dream. People from the lower east side of Buffalo barely get to the other side of town let alone to a country on the other side of the world! It was a long process, but I got there! I was extremely happy. I set out to do something, it was a hard road, but I finally made it. I was the happiest girl in the world. Once that happens, once goals are met I feel like something strange occurs within a person. I took care of me, I was having fun, doing what I wanted to do, but all I kept thinking was, “I want to do something that matters in the world.” I wanted to, I don’t know, make a difference, do something meaningful, or at least good ya know?  It was almost as if I was done living in my pleasure bubble.  I joined a conservation group while I was away on my exchange program in Australia. I got to plant trees! It was a small thing, but hey, trees are important!

That “I want to make a difference” feeling consumes several people around this globe. Photographers included. Successful photographers spend such a long time getting to their ultimate goal (whatever that may be) than they achieve their goals, and I think that’s where the feeling to give back comes in.

How the hell CAN photographers make a difference in this world?

I’ve heard some photographers say, “Oh, all I do is just take pictures.” I always hated to hear those types of things. I mentioned in previous posts how capturing a memory can really affect so many people. They’ll have the memory for years to come. You, the photographer, created and made that image part of history. That person in their time of sorrow can look back at a loved one that has passed, and remember and re-live how beautiful they were. A person can be having the worst day of their lives, look at a picture, and feel just a little bit better. I will even go as far as to say that photographers have saved lives by preventing someone from committing suicide. These things, in fact have happened. If that isn’t making a difference I don’t know what is.

I went to a the NYC photo expo Fall 2012,  and I loved it! Of course I did. I saw a post card promoting this documentary about glaciers. The promotions kept mentioning how stunning the images were. I spent some time in Alaska so, I was immediately sold. I HAD to see this movie!! Without even knowing the true point to why this documentary was made. There was some specials screenings, I kept missing the ones they had in NYC. I kept checking where it would be playing. I finally saw it. I happen to find it late Sunday night (7/7/2013) on Netflix. I was tired, but as soon as I saw it, I was determined to stay up, and watch every minute.

The documentary was called “Chasing Ice.” It is covering a photographer, James Balog on his mission to capture the current state and the continuing depletion of the world’s glaciers. He has always felt very connected to nature, being able to capture it in a such an in-your-face way. But he also has done his research he gets into the science of it all. When you hear him speak in the documentary, his passion definitely comes across strong, and you begin to really feel how he feels. However, covering glaciers you’re going to jump right into the Global Warming Controversy. Ya know, the whole… oh it was a big deal, but oh, now apparently scientists don’t agree, wait a minute- there really isn’t anything wrong with our Earth. Blah. Blah. Blah. I think the people who experienced Hurricane Sandy will beg to differ. I will refrain from getting too into all the crazy weather we have been having for the past few years. Balog sets out to actually document the amount the glaciers are receding. I could get into the science of it all, but I want you to watch it, and take it all in there. He wanted to take a picture once every hour (during daylight) for an extended period of time. I think he ended up doing somewhere around 3 years. and time-lapse all of it! Yes, its about an Ice survey. Yes, the images are absolutely breath taking. Yes, it was shot great. Yes, there is a great story here. BUT… what he does is provide crystal clear evidence of what is happening on our planet.

He was a photographer that wanted to show the world the problem. He wanted to alleviate all of the nonsense going around in the media, and maybe lessen the confusion that surronds this Global Warming issue. He wanted to make a difference. People dont know what to believe anymore, and he provided the proof. There are stills that are taken and you can compare one or two photos, but to see the evidence in this way hit a bit closer to home.

He’s not the only photographer to ever do this. By no means. There are so many photographers’ photos that have changed the way we have looked at social issues, and events happening on our planet. They’ve given the masses the reality check needed when the country was at war, and the American public was safely back home in their own little bubble totally oblivious to what is happening in the world wound them. They put the problems from around the globe right in the faces that refused to believe such horrible things were actually materializing, and lingering for years to come. They provide the shock value, and the dose of reality that needs to be had for the more advantaged in this country, and overseas.

Iraqi War Prisoner
Starving Child and Vulture
Napalm Accident Tragedy

The photographs above are famous for a reason. They are the reality no one wants to admit. There are a lot of things that exist in this world, and actions that are taking place right now that people do not want to realize. We have to live right?? We have to somehow be able to lead happy lives, be able to raise our kids, and think our children have a chance in this world. When I get to thinking about all the crazy messed up things in this world that are happening right as I type this, it is such an overwhelming feeling, and one of despair. It’s because I can’t fix any of it quickly. We all are part of the solution, and we can do small things to get to the goals we set for the world we live in. Whether its dealing with pollution, famine, war, or the climate change that is scaring the the crap out of everyone. We have to stop thinking “oh, I’m only (fill in the blank) I can’t really do much.” I don’t believe that for a second. Each person is important, has a role, and affects a great deal throughout just a single day.

Never underestimate a passion, talent, or a love of something you want to do with your life.
Photographers don’t just take photos, they directly affect the world around them.

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