Photojournalism is such a thankless task because many people don’t want to be affected

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Whenever I get back from a long trip, my wife and I have this ritual. It sort of grounds me back home, lets me back in psychologically. Part of this ritual involves sitting on the steps of union square park in NYC and watching people going about their daily lives. Watching them shopping for clothes, for food, whatever – mostly watching their complete obliviousness to the hardships of another place thousands of miles away. Initially I get angry, but then I realize, that it’s all relative. That this is part of life, that most people are oblivious, because there is no other way to live. You can’t care about everyone everywhere.

via Conscientious Extended | A Conversation with Benjamin Lowy.

There Are 3 Comments On This Article.

  1. Jenn Sharp

    I’ve experienced similar emotions after trips to developing regions of the world. After a few months I find myself slipping back into old habits of consumption and feel guilty. I think it’s possible to strike a balance between living the life you want and giving back whenever you’re able. Being aware is the first step.

  2. As a former journalist, I get this post. It was hard for me to constantly uncover things that were SO wrong and seldom hear any reaction from people. However, 4 years after I published an expose’ on a rotten city councilman, I found it on the internet being quoted. So, your work does have a lasting effect even if sometimes you can’t see it right away. Keep reminding us that there are people out there suffering and if you only get 3 people to care each time – you’ve still made a difference. Good luck to you.

  3. I too have found similar thoughts and feelings on returning from documenting different events. But never forget that you are returning with a story to tell and with that information having been a witness you can awaken people’s consciousness. No rights that we have today were freely given they were fought for. The initial information that spearheaded those rights came from people who cared enough to make a difference. Every bit helps.

    I always keep in mind a response that a non denominational spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, once said when asked how he manages to keep going with his humanitarian work when he doesn’t see results happening immediately … ‘I do what i do because I believe in it, not because I have expectations.’

    Keep going every little bit counts!