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Didn't really have something to put on here so I thought I'd give an explanation of what I hope to do with poverty studies and art.  This is a really famous National Geographic photograph that, although in a small way by some proportions, affected an impoverished situation.  The Peruvian boy photographed is crying because someone just drove into and killed his sheep (the source of his pride and income) and I'm sure he is unsure of what to do next.  The photographer caught the sense of helplessness that we have been trying to understand through readings, discussion and the poverty simulation, in just one snap.  The boy's facial expression caught the hearts of lots of Americans and he was flooded with money and words of encouragement.  His pack of sheep were replaced and his tears dried.

Although that is just one example of one family helped, I feel that I too can use photography in this way to affect those who are hopeless.  Whether it be across the world or across the fence (great wall of Greenville), I am hoping to spread light on situations that have been in the dark so that those who CAN help, will help.

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  1. Unknown User (scrane)

    Catherine: That is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Unknown User (cmceniry)

    CPate = Awesome.

    It's incredible how quickly one photo can break your heart.

    Here's a theatre piece which talks about human trafficking and is kind of representative of how I want to use theatre, as well.

    This has so much to do with the idea of consumer responsibility- the minds of the consumers have to be engaged in wanting to end poverty no matter what the system is, or else nothing will happen. The arts are definitely still necessary in this struggle. However, I find that so few artists even care. Photography is probably one of the few arts that is making massive strokes to alleviate suffering. Theatre- less so. For some reason, theatre artists would rather make fun of the upper class rather than mobilize them... doing no good at all.

    1. Unknown User (bsmalls)

      This is really cool Catherine and Cortney! I love the arts and think that they are a great way to move people towards action. It is definitely something worth pursuing...I just hope your works are not pushed to the side like the small voices you try to speak out for.

      Sometimes people need awareness in a different form that is visual instead of solely audial.

  3. Unknown User (pmoore)

    This is an awesome post Catherine! I also hope to someday use photography to help communicate the harsh realities that poverty induces on the human experience. The ability to capture one specific instance that communicates a much larger story is something that is almost impossible to do...Steve McCurry (my favorite photographer...probably most famous for his 1984 picture titled "Afghan Girl") discusses his persuit of the "unguarded moment".  This moment comes and goes when the persons he is photographing forgets McCurry is there, and the subject's eyes, facial expressions, body movement, and surroundings give insight to the true state of affairs.  Capturing these elements in the right lighting and timing among the chaos that surrounds the natural world is something very rare; but when it happens, the resulting image can be breathtaking.

    During my trip to India this past Fall, I wrestled with the purpose of taking pictures of people living in poverty.  A lot of the time, I was overwhelmed to not press the shutter release. I felt that I was exploiting another human being's unfortunate situation. However, capturing poverty in order to relay stories of strife and desperation to people who are not able to see or experience it first hand is important. I guess that was the moral duty that I found myself wanting to fulfill throughout my photographic journey in India.

    If you have a minute, please check out McCurry's site very well could change your life...

    1. Unknown User (bsmalls)

      Wow PJ you were right these are some amazing pictures! I hope you got some from your trip despite the whole internal, ethical battle. Sometimes people need pictures to understand things or to be moved. It's one of the closest things to reality we have. Thanks for sharing the website!

    2. Unknown User (cpate)

      Thanks PJ! I love the "Afghan Girl" photograph and I really enjoyed looking at that website.  I really understand that moral dilemma of taking pictures of poverty. I'm hoping that with this service project I can build relationships which could then build trust to make taking pictures of them a lot easier since they would then know my true intentions. I'd love to see your pictures from India sometime!

  4. Unknown User (ewirzba)

    What an amazing picture! I think that there is definitely a difference between "exploitative" photography and photography with the goal of opening up world's eyes to the poverty surrounding us. I looked at McCurry's site, and I absolutely love his pictures. His ability to capture expressions is incredible. You all should check out a book my sister got for Christmas this year, entitled "When Did I See You Hungry?" by Gerard Thomas Straub. It is the story of a journalist who, in the beginning is not religious, and travels the world to try to capture poverty with his camera. Throughout the years that he is doing this, he eventually becomes a Christian. The book is a compilation of his experiences, famous quotes, sayings, statistics on poverty, and amazing pictures. I was flipping through the book on christmas day, and needless to say it left me feeling incredibly guilty! But it is a beautiful book... One fact that has stuck with me was something along the lines of "it's not how much you give away that matters, it's how much you keep for yourself." He also compares poverty in the U.S. with poverty on an international level, and discusses how it is almost worse being homeless in the U.S. just because you are not respected as a human being. You all MUST try to get this book!

  5. Unknown User (rchildree2126)

    It's amazing to see how powerful a single image can and how quickly in can alter your perspective. Being exposed to pictures like these literally open your eyes to problems and emotions you have never experienced before. A picture says a thousand words- and living in the US where poverty is often ignored and people often don't utter one word about it, its great to see these pictures so reality can set in.