#308. Hate and Violence. What We, Amateur Photographers, Can Do!

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Jan 08

I’ll keep this one short. There isn’t much I can write to express how much it hurts to witness people shooting at liberty in an otherwise privileged country.




It’s happened before and will happen again, which doesn’t make it any more pleasant or acceptable.

How can we, amateur photographers, help?

That horrible thing happened. Politicians make speeches, church leaders express their condolences. It won’t change a thing. It can’t. Reason never will reason an evil mind. Preventing such acts can only come from the population. Bottom up, not top down. We have to want a change for a change to happen. We have to be ready to change our way of living in very real and tangible ways and not just be wishful about virtual better days to come.

Protests are being held. If you wish to participate in one, an interactive map is provided below to help you locate the closest to your home.

But protests aren’t enough. Protests are only symbols. Reminders.

We can all act.

Travel photographers are in general well-to-do and well-traveled individuals. The cost of one of our lenses could feed families. The cost of our travels also. We must use these wisely.

Take a minute to ask yourself why you travel.

Here on DS, we’ve always spoken against the attitude of trophy-hunting. This was always from an artistic point of view. The collection of socially imposed memories simply is a recipe for bad photography, encouraging you to rush from famous location to famous location, elbowing from prime photo real-estate and missing out on the heart and essence of the location. It encourages the sloppy high ISO wide zoom get-the-shot-at-all-costĀ attitude against that of strong personal vision.

But there is much more to it.

Let me now rephrase why we will always advocate against the photographic practice of trophy collecting : it is all about you. Not about others. What do you learn of the world when your only interaction with it results in pixels captured for all the wrong reasons ? Do you want to be one of those photographers who stand in a circle pointing humongous white lenses at semi-captive exotic tribesmen ? Or do you want to be the one who engages, explains, learns and grabs that natural smile ?

Evil feeds on ignorance. The best you can do to fight terror is to fight ignorance. In yourself and in others. Make it a habit of questioning everything you are told. Read, search, learn, give. Fight for the truth against ideology. Accept that others know more than yourself, and learn from them. Not a day goes by that I don’t realize I was wrong about something important.

Travel is a gift. Make it a gift to those you visit as well. Talk to local people. Be generous. Learn from them. Understand their culture and help them understand yours.

The police may arrest the perpetrators of the recent shootings and that won’t revive the dead. But we, as individuals, can help prevent more shootings by promoting – beginning with ourselves – understanding, tolerance and generosity. Little can help achieve so lofty a goal as much as traveling. Make the most of your travels.


Hi, you all. This is Philippe. I want to add my own thoughts on this subject. What is at stake are the twin freedoms of religion and of press. Needless to say, both are fundamental to a free society. This is why, while Charlie Hebdo was deeply anti-religious and near-anarchist, at this time, so many people, yours truly included, proclaim:

Je suis Charlie

For my part, today, I thought life could not go on with business as usual. I grabbed my camera, and went to the Paris Cathedral Notre-Dame. And, though the day was forecast gloomy and rainy, the sun broke through, and lit up the cathedral. Exactly the type of building theses crazies can’t stand, because it testifies to the presence of the Christian religion for the last 850 years (that is how old it is), and is admired by people from all over the world.

So, whereas Pascal believes only a black flag is appropriate, I post one picture. The towers of Notre-Dame, that house the mighty bells that tolled today. Would that they didn’t toll for nothing. Would that the sun rays lighting up the glorious architecture of the cathedral announce that we have been hit and hurt, but not forsaken.


  • An Amateur Photographer says:

    Free speech is a very delicate flower, as is its corner-stone, democracy, which, can only have its nurturing garden bed protected and secured, through a common and united voice. A voice that takes purposeful and effective action against the ignorance of evil that feeds and facilitates the cancer intent in destroying democracy and its freedom of expression, which includes freedom of expression through religion and the press in peaceful respectful and tolerant coexistence …

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