When I was about 13 years old growing up in Apartheid-era South Africa, I saw a big white space in the newspaper where a photo should have been. It was shocking. One never sees that much white space in a newspaper. I asked my father whether someone had messed up. “No,” he said. “The article is about Nelson Mandela but the newspaper is not allowed to publish a photo of him.”
At the time, Nelson Mandela had been in jail for over 20 years and the apartheid-era government had banned the publication of any photo of him as well as any direct reference to words he’d spoken or written. It struck me then probably for the first time how powerful photos must be if a government has to go to such extremes to suppress them.
Ironically, years later Nelson Mandela lead South Africa through a relatively peaceful shift to democracy and his benevolent smiling face is emblazoned on the minds of not only South Africans but people around the world. Here he is on a South African stamp.
This was the beginning of my long love affair with photography. That initial exposure to the power of photography has only been confirmed over and over as, over the years, I’ve seen images transform our understanding of the world and motivate change.
I hope to make this blog an interesting place of discovery–a place to share beautiful or disturbing photos, discover new photographers and ideas and lose oneself in this extraordinary medium. I will be telling the stories behind my own projects and will also occasionally be featuring the work of other photographers. The links in this blog will lead you to photographers and photo sites that I hope will inspire, inform and excite you.