Photographs capture problems in society

Abdullah Rashed, Reporter

In the past, people listened to the radio to hear about what’s happening in their country or community. They followed a problem, but they could not see the issue. Society couldn’t fully grasp what was happening in the world until the television and photography eras became established.

In 1913, child labor was a massive problem in the United States of America, and photography was used to exploit this injustice.

Children between the ages of 10 and 14 left their homes, not to go to school, but to go to work in factories and other businesses. Around 1908 and 1912, Lewis Hine, who is a social photographer, spent his time shooting photos about children laboring in factories. He also captured them in their daily lives; outside in the street, selling newspapers and mailing letters.

He used photography to bring awareness to the public, to shed light on the unfair treatment of children. He presented child labor pictures to the public with captions, making the images more meaningful and powerful.

A few years later, adults and children protested against the factories owners. As a result, the photographs that he shot made a huge change in U.S. history.

“The rich have their own photographs…photograph the forgotten ones,” Milton Rogovin said.

“Photos show peoples’ needs in other countries,” said Alaeldin Ahmed, a senior Sudanese student at Buffalo State.

“They express situations more than words, and photographers have a huge rule and responsibility on sending their messages honestly,” said Ahmed.

Kevin Carter, a South African photojournalist, emphasizes the situation of hunger and drought in the African continent through his photography.

In 1993, Carter shot a photo of a starving child in Ayod village in South Sudan. The photo is powerful because a vulture sits watch over the child, as if looking at its prey. After he took the photograph with honesty, he waited for twenty minutes to see what the vulture would do to her. He eventually scared the vulture away by throwing a stone and then the girl walked away; however, did she survive?

On March 26, 1993, The New York Times published the photo, and Kevin Carter received a Pulitzer Prize for it.

The audiences’ reactions were intense, and negative. Some people mentioned that Carter lost his sense of humanity because he saw the child struggling and he shot that photo anyway. His life changed, turning to sadness and darkness, eventually committing suicide in 1994.

“Throughout the history, photos have impacted phases in cause,” said Kaitlin McCabe, a photography student at Villa Maria.

“Both photos and words are mightier, but photos are more strong. They really work together,” said McCabe.

Photographs can communicate with each person around the world easily, and they can impact peoples’ lives positively, and negatively. The way that photographers present their works leads the imagination of their viewers, and touches their souls and emotions.

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