Over and over we hear complaints about increasing social reserve and egotism in the modern meritocracy. In actual fact, advancing individualization sometimes leaves the impression that most people exist only for themselves – they are their own nearest and dearest.
It’s all too easy to forget that, among us, there are a great many people who are quietly and consistently there for others, without a fuss, without attention. These unsung, everyday heroes are the ones who commit good deeds every day, without fanfare. Impactful images of their work will both recognize their efforts and give a visual signal of solidarity.
A visual signal of solidarity
Dedication, technological advancement, and the pursuit of profit are important for industry, but at least as important is the “social glue” that serves to hold these together and ensures that the weakest links don’t fall by the wayside: This would be, for example, the many people who work or volunteer with the elderly, the ill, the lonely, the underprivileged, lending their time and empathy to improve the lives of others. Due to our particular demographics, the topic of “care” is gaining in importance – and offers broad potential for good photos.
The category of “everyday hero” also includes those who assist in cases of distress, large and small: The many professionals whose task it is to intervene when something’s wrong, such as doctors, paramedics, fire fighters, and the police. All too often, their service is taken for granted, minimized or even denied outright.
This encompasses those who carry out essential tasks that are generally regarded as unpleasant or hazardous: Those who transport tons of garbage, repair roads, maintain underground sewage systems or even diffuse old bombs; the list goes on and on… Each of these people gets up and does, everyday, what must be done so that we can lead safe and comfortable lives.
The image subtext: “You are not alone”
The many facets of these activities make a broad and rich field of exploration for photographers. Helping and selfless service are emotionally laden topics.
Successfully conceived motifs serve our need for role models upon whom we model our own actions; what’s more, these heroes give us a feeling of security in the sometimes chaotic complexity of modern life – someone who says, “You are not alone.”
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