Photographing spinning gears, happy couples running on a pristine beach, or creating the illusion of birds flying in a perfect arrow formation are a definite departure from my work as an NGO-humanitarian photographer. This is conceptual stock photography and a world apart from the images of human suffering, tragedy and triumphant survival that I also photograph.
Every photographer I know that has had a desire to aid those in need by utilizing his or her photography skill, has had to subsidize that area of work with another. Some photographers shoot weddings and portraits, others lead photo workshops, a few write books. I have chosen to shoot stock images. The NGO market is not known for paying well...or sometimes not at all.
For me, shooting for NGO's and non-profits is a calling. Like David duChemin describes it in Vision Mongers, "It's as though there's a voice beckoning us to distraction, a preoccupying whisper that, at some point, we give in to and follow." A calling means to me that it is more than just a desire. It is something that resonates deep inside. I can't NOT shoot this type of work. Stock is a wonderful way to put bread and butter on the table. But more than that, it gives me the freedom to engage a world that is hurting. Click on the link above for a multi-media portfolio of some of my stock photography.
All photography and multi-media ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman 2010