Amateur photographers can help good cause

Sunday, January 12, 2003

A photograph can influence different people in different ways.

Photographers, by picturing their world in their own way, can influence people, too.

As a professional photographer, I am interested in reading about other professionals who are involved in worthwhile projects -- projects that can create a greater awareness of good causes, as well as generate some donations for them.

Recently, two new books that will benefit good causes caught my eye.

"A Day in the Life of Africa" (Tides Foundation) features 250 photographs taken by 100 of the world's top photojournalists, including a dozen Pulitzer Prize and World Press Photo winners. The photographer's mission was to "capture images that celebrate a vast, vibrant continent in transition."

All the photographs in this book were taken on the same day, February 28, 2002.

Another new book, "Wise Women," by Joyce Tenneson (Bulfinch Press), is as inspiring as it is beautiful. The wise women that Tenneson photographed range from 65 to 100 years old. Her exquisite photographs show the vitality, energy and beauty of each of her subjects; they include Coretta Scott King, Angela Lansbury, Julie Harris and Gloria Steinem.

All author proceeds from "Wise Women" will benefit The Light Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and scholarships in the creative arts.

You don't have to be a professional photographer to help a good cause. You can use your camera to help generate a greater awareness of an important issue that is close to your heart. Here's one example:

You could document the beauty of an endangered wetlands area near your home and then have an exhibit of your photographs at a local library. If you think your pictures have a strong message, pitch an article to a conservation, nature or photography magazine. You might contact book publishers that promote conservation, such as the Sierra Club. The next time you don't know what to do with your camera, put it to good use -- for a good cause.

Rick Sammon is the author of 21 books about photography.

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