Family Photojournalism

3 things family photojournalism can teach us about others


Photography is a powerful medium. Some of the most iconic moments in all of history are encapsulated in pictures. But why should history be limited to what is written in textbooks? Each one of us is creating our own personal history. Family photojournalism is a medium for all of us to use to capture our stories.

Each of us has a unique vantage point and wisdom to share, alongside the histories we are all creating. Family photojournalism gives us glimpses into the lives of people who may be nothing like us. Images have power to transcend personal experiences and speak to the broader heart of humanity. Here’s 3 things that family photojournalism can teach us about others.

Family photojournalism teaches us about different cultures and heritages.

Living in the Bay Area, I am surrounded by people who have different cultures and backgrounds than I do. It regularly blows my mind how many different languages I hear at the grocery store. Or how many different options I have for restaurants.

However, these brief encounters with other cultures aren’t enough to give any meaningful insight. Spending significant portions of time with these families draws out the differences and similarities in stark relief. As a result, the images I create during family photojournalism sessions shed light on how different cultural backgrounds shape everyday family experiences.

It may be surprising to find just how similar you are to someone else. Or maybe some unconscious assumptions lurk beneath. Perhaps you could learn something new.

Whatever you discover from family photojournalism about others, you can always learn and grow.

It also teaches us to remember that people cope with real challenges.

It’s only human to want to hide our struggles. But when everything you see is a perfect highlight reel of life, it’s easy to forget that things are hard sometimes. Strike that. Things are hard a lot.

All around you people are struggling. Whether it’s illness, unemployment, discrimination, disability, or relational difficulties, there are no perfect lives. Family photojournalism disabuses us of the idea that everyone else has a perfect life. Being reminded of the struggles of those surrounding us engages our empathy and makes us better people.

Along with reminding us to be kind, we can glean strategies for coping with our own difficulties through the photographs family photojournalism creates.

Finally, family photojournalism teaches us that we are more alike than we are different.

The rich tapestry of humanity features many different shades, hues, tones, sizes, shapes, and much more. Narrowing our perspective to only our strands and threads tempts us to only see how different we are. However, family photojournalism pulls back the veil and allows us to see the similarities common to humanity that we all share.

For instance, everyone eats. Not all food is the same. Nor prepared the same. Nor shared the same. But we all eat.

We all shoulder burdens in the course of the day. Not every burden is the same, or carried the same way. But we all carry burdens.

Our humanity unites us far more than anything can divide. Family photojournalism draws this to the foreground.

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