Many of the images that we see on the daily basis are images of exotic and far away places. Places that we wish that we could be there or one day be able to see for ourselves. If I were to make a book, I would surely pick images from such places too. The more I see these types of images, the more I wonder if photography can make a difference.
As an individual behind the lens, I can tell you what taking out my camera to capture an image and how it makes me feel. I also know what I want a person to feel when they see my images. It would be amazing to be the fly on the wall and experience that just once for myself. Obviously, I could ask the question “Can photography make a difference?” without mentioning photojournalism. Without the later, newspapers will be the most boring thing to read. As it is said “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
As a person that creates almost on a daily basis, I’ve come to wonder whether my work is capable of making a difference. It maybe a self centered question but I’ve often wonder what my contribution to our world is. I recently went to Togo, West Africa where my mum is originally from. When I left London, I had a plan. I wanted to document the city that I remembered. The place that I remember through the eyes of a child. A place that I had only visited a handful of time.
But the reality hit me like a tonne of brick. The place that I remembered when I was a child is not so. The place that I remembered was in fact very different. Things have changed a lot but at the same time it remained the same. This made me think that it is time to tell my story. At the same, I felt like a fraud. Should this be really done by me?
In the last 20 years, I’ve been back for a total of 3 times. Most people consider me to be a foreigner when I am there and it is exactly what I hear when I am in London. On the other hand, it is difficult for me to sit back and to simply watch as others tell our story. After all, they do say that nobody can tell your story better than yourself.