An image can become engraved in our mind, marking a memorable event and informing us of the reality we live in. Photography has also become a bold statement, with artists using the medium to inform and spread the word. When we dig deeper to what’s really relevant and important in today’s world, we can’t get by without documentary photography.
With an increasing momentum, some photographers managed to influence millions with their powerful photography projects. Today we’ll look at some of the most thought provoking projects that have managed to make a difference.
1. Refugee Life Through the Eyes of Syrian Children
Back in 2014, there was a one year project called Zakira, or ‘Memory’ in Arabic. Refugee children were given disposable camera to capture and document their experiences and life in refugee camps.
The Syrian war has been going on for years now, with millions that fled their country to find safety and a better life. The Za’atari camp became the world’s second largest refugee camp back then, with tens of thousands of Syrian children that were cramped together at the Jordan-Syria border. An organization partnered with UNICEF to give out 500 disposable cameras to give these children a voice.
Image credit: UNICEF/Zakira
2. A Ballet Program That Brought Strength to Girls in a Slum
Fredrik Lerneryd spent a significant amount of time capturing a group of ballet dancers in Nairobi, Kenya. The project took place in one of the largest urban slums in Africa. The girls dressed in their outfits and danced their hearts out.
The project promoted confidence and physical and mental well-being. The documentation of the project moved audiences. Something as simple as dance can be the ultimate escape.
Image credit: Fredrik Lerneryd
3. Through Your Eyes
This project put disposable cameras into the hands of people living on the streets in Southern California. The project is really aimed at raising awareness and giving people a chance to have their unique vision acknowledged and shared.
Image credit: Roddrick Miller
4. Challenging Established Standards of Beauty
Justin Dingwall released a photo series about the aesthetics of albinism. In South Africa, about 1 in 4000 people is affected by albinism. These people are discriminated against and even subjected to violence in some places.
One photographer decides to turn things around, capturing the beauty, uniqueness and soul of people that suffer from prejudice on a daily basis.
Image credit: Justin Dingwall
Fotokids has been around for the past 25 years. The project is run by a non-profit organization whose aim is to break the cycle of poverty through empowering the youth. Visual arts and technology come together to help children get out of poverty. The project was originally called Out of the Dump and included six children that worked in Guatemala City’s garbage dump. Today, it remains an influential project.
Image credit: Fotokids
Projects like these are concerned with helping communities, and raising awareness around the world. Photography alone teaches individuals about aesthetics, and ultimately gives them a voice, one that spreads around the web and our TV screens and makes us think about the millions struggling to be heard.