Today is Martin Luther King Day. It is the only holiday that’s been designated a national day of service. It’s intended to be a day on, not a day off. Organizations large and small and individuals around the country take time on this day to volunteer to do whatever they can to make the world a better place.
All kinds of photographers were right there in the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement documenting acts of racial discrimination and the nonviolent response. Photography also enabled activists to document activities in places that mainstream news wasn’t going to, and to spotlight the work they were doing there. Their contribution, as proven by historians of the period, is immeasurable.
Photographers of all skill levels have a unique gift to give. There are so many ways someone with a camera and a big heart can raise awareness or enrich those in their community. Someone like you.
It’s also important, to make a significant contribution, that you have your act together. It’s helpful to have a portfolio of past work. You also need computer skills for editing and printing or sending photographs to clients. You can also volunteer your photographic skills work with almost any nonprofit organization, like animal shelters and hospitals The possibilities are truly endless.
It’s possible that me reminding you of the unique place photographers hold in documenting our society will have you will heading out to give your photography in a meaningful way. But this is also a great day simply to remember that throughout the year that you have endless opportunities to enrich your community with your energy and vision.
I know that many of you do this regularly. I’m not asking you to brag about your generosity. I’m asking you to inspire your fellow photographers with the work that you’ve done in the past that represents the very best of us. And by us I mean people who understand the power of the still image and its sacred place in society.
If you have photographs you’ve donated to any organization or pictures that you’ve taken to relieve someone’s pain could you share them with us today? Like I said, this is not about telling the world you are a special person. This is about inspiring other people just like you to share whatever modest but precious ability they have to touch people with a camera and make a difference.
Please share your experiences and ideas for ways to volunteer with your camera in the comments below or click here to share them on our Facebook post where you can also upload photos—we’d love to see and hear about how photographers of all levels in all communities use help serve and promote positive change with through photography.