Guest Post for D.L. Mayfield

by Peter on February 7, 2013

in Life, Photography, Spirituality

Hi friends,

Check out my guest post over at D.L. Mayfield’s blog to read about my growth in telling stories through photos, and photography intersects with ministry in our communities.  It’s part of her ongoing series about “War Photographers”—that is, exploring how to tell personal and powerful stories without devaluing, misusing, or stereotyping.

Here’s a snippet:

When I started playing with my first digital camera, I fell in love with the idea of photojournalism. Good photojournalism has this incredible power to open up new worlds, to tell untold stories, and to expose the hidden parts of society that people usually ignore. Though I was a wannabe young radical with a heart for “urban issues,” I was still finishing college in a very white, upper middle-class suburb of Chicago. So I saw the nearby city as an opportunity to start photographing the real world that everyone else in my suburban area and rural hometown was missing out on. I wanted to jump into the war against poverty, against discrimination, against apathy; I wanted to make a difference. For me, that meant showing how messed up and forgotten our world really is.

I’d hop on the train and travel into the city on a weekend, exploring this unknown urban jungle. With sneaky shots of the homeless, portraits of Latino construction workers, and scenes of gritty poor neighborhoods, I was learning how to shoot while teaching myself to see the details of a city I just knew people preferred to ignore. This was it—with camera in hand, I had found my way to speak prophetically to the world.

Read the rest here.  And be sure to check out the rest of her blog; she’s a great writer and worth reading more of!



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn February 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I remember journeying around Chi-town with you and our cameras. I recently came across pictures we had taken when we played with a group of boys at some park… remember that?

I love your approach to photography and the amazing giftedness God has given you. I feel like I have had a similar journey regarding the “photojournalism” educational curve or whatever.

Random comment- one of the beautiful things about that first photo of the garbage can is the fact that there is garbage piled around the full can. I always think it is pretty amazing when people still put their garbage by the can, rather than just tossing it wherever. Beauty in the little things, right?

PS- thanks for helping me discover Danielle’s blog! :)

Peter February 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I absolutely remember that! In fact, it was those sort of trips that I was thinking about in the beginning… they were a lot of fun and good experiences, but I definitely look back and realize I was just being an inner-city tourist. But that was my issue; you were probably a lot wiser about it at the time!

And yes—beauty in the small things. I still get annoyed when I see people drop rubbish randomly around the neighbourhood. It’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it’s representative of so much more. So I’m very thankful for the people who hang on to their stuff long enough to find a bin…

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