Do We Dare To Look?

Seeing ourselves from the viewpoint of documentary photographs is different than the major news media’s images (extreme news, crime, suffering) or social media snaps (vacation pics, selfies, looking our best to impress friends). It includes photographs that show the way we are today. It shows real life.

Where can you see what real life in eastern Colorado looks like right now? That part of the state outside of the major Front Range cities (Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs) where rural folks live? It’s an area I intend to photograph because I don’t even know what life is like there, and it’s minutes from my Boulder home.

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Here’s Main Street, Platteville, Colorado.  What is life like for them? Do many of them have health care? Or any? Are they retired? Are they young families? Do they have to commute to Boulder or Denver for work? Are they struggling trying to keep a business alive, or a farm or ranch going?
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This is a small rural town in northern Texas. This is their Main Street.  It look like many other small Texas towns–desolate, while outside shopping centers and big box stores are thriving.
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Who is making a living in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota?  What is succeeding and what is failing? 

 

The documentary photographer’s job is to photograph the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. It’s more than a news source, which covers the extremes of events—crime, natural disasters, war. It’s a window into our lives from an outsider’s objective point of view.

A willingness to look and see things that aren’t only attractive, not only how we want to be seen. But a view into who we really are.

There’s a view that there are so many photos uploaded onto social media a minute that photographs don’t matter anymore. I don’t believe that’s true. There are a thousand stories that are standing in the shadows, and they need to have a light shined on them, to have their stories told.

This project aims to do just that. With documentary photographs. It’s a different mindset than shooting clever street photography with humorous juxtapositions or geometric lighting patterns.

It’s seeking to see truth. If we dare to look.

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