I don't like the word "activism." The people whom I admire most because they are facilitating change in this world would not identify themselves with the label activist, nor likely be pleased if someone else named them with that description. But this post is not about my reaction to and reflection on the word.
And in one instance it communicated a message well.
Today I saw Photography as Activism and the book's title immediately conveyed its topic and purpose. In fact, after doing some online research and concluding that the book is not cause-y or strident, I put in a request for it at Interlibrary Loan. Through reading the book, I am planning to learn how photography since its birth has been instrumental in social change.
Visual communication can be persuasive and convincing, often commanding thought and feeling followed by action. Sometimes the visual can communicate what words simply cannot. (I have written about the pictograph path, the use of visual communication here.) Photos are one method of visual communication, one with potentially strong and palpable influence.
I call the relationship between the vision and current reality structural tension. During the creative process, you have an eye on where you want to go, and you also have an eye on where you currently are. There will always be structural tension in the beginning of the creative process, for there will always be a discrepancy between what you want and what you have. Why? Because creators bring into being creations that do not yet exist. Structural tension is a fundamental principle in the creative process. In fact, part of your job as a creator is to form this tension.
Now take a photo that clearly represents current reality and a photo that represents the vision for the change, the future. Let those two photos create the tension that will bring the vision into reality. Whether the tension must be felt by you alone or by hundreds, even thousands of people, communicate the path forward through photos. Click for more about creative tension.
This is just one of many ways to use photos to create change. Look for more here at idealawg in future posts. And let me know how you use photos to communicate, motivate, influence.