Building a bridge with images
Being a photographer is an exciting and varied job that allows you to briefly immerse yourself in different realities. While I’m usually pacing the floors of the Palais de Congres in Montreal, or circling through a cocktail party hunting for laughing faces and emotional connections, I sometimes also get the privilege to do editorial work for different clients looking to tell a story about their work or organization, which is what I was able to do on a shoot yesterday at Le Pont.
Le Pont is an organization that shelters and provides services for asylum seekers recently arrived in Quebec. It helps single women, single parents and families by providing them with a temporary shelter that is safe, family-oriented and rich in services and opportunities to promote the integration of their guests into Quebec society.
By providing personalized care and follow-up, the organization helps people thread their way through the many challenges newcomers face learning their way through government organizations and community groups as they seek to build their lives here.
What photography can do…
As a photographer I like to believe that my work (sometimes) can make a difference. While I know that not every handshake I’ve ever photographed at a business networking event, or every golf swing I’ve captured at a charity golf tournament will change lives, I do occasionally experience the joy and privilege of bearing witness to genuine human moments that I always feel grateful to be present for.
I know that a photograph is just that – an image, a two-dimensional record of a frozen moment in time – but they are also connection points. The entire process of “documenting” an event obscures the fact that the camera and photographer are, in a way, a part of the event and the images produced would not exist without either being present.
And building up those moments, sharing some emotional connectivity and making people laugh and smile, while really not much in the way of life changing skills, does in a small way, move the needle in a more positive direction than otherwise. It’s not much, but it’s something I can do.
…What photography CAN’T do
Having said that, I am increasingly aware of all that photography can’t do. While it often influences people’s opinions, it rarely changes hearts and minds. People tend to see what they want to see and interpret what they see according to largely pre-set ideas about others, about the world, about the way things are.
I don’t believe photography will stop the war in Ukraine, or end world hunger, or bring about peaceful resolution to the kinds of conflicts and strife that create asylum seekers in the first place – but I do hope that if you are occasionally moved by a photo you see somewhere, that you dig a little deeper into the story behind it and do what you can do to make that good feeling go a little further.
If that’s the case today, you can use this link here to Donate to Le Pont.
(See more photos from this shoot here on my Instagram (JulianHaberPhotography))