Choosing Your Shot

Throughout my last project with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) I rarely took my camera out onto the work site.  It wasn’t that there were not shots to be taken, nor were there not opportunities to capture some good images.  I felt that it would be inappropriate for me to pull out my camera while leading middle school kids through wilderness camps. 

It’s a conflict of morals, ethics and personal judgement.  Others on my team took some amazing pictures while working camp.  I didn’t due to the fact that it didn’t feel right. 

As an artist and a photographer, I understand the desire to capture that perfect image, but there are times when my personal beliefs outweigh the urge to document everything around me.  There is a code of ethics that many journalists follow that makes me struggle to lift my camera.  I saw it in Joplin where the call to capture the emotions of a scene ment that the photographer in question acted like he had no soul or feeling.  Without being asked or warned, many individuals found a camera lens in their face. 

I struggled with this knowledge day after day in the field, where I often refused to lift my camera, despite the visually striking image of emotions.  Ethically, I feel that those grieving should be given their space, that if a photographer takes specific images, they are loosing a part of their soul.  I am not willing to sacrifice that which makes me who I am as an artist and individual.

Working at the Lake Houston Wilderness Park, I found myself unwilling to lift my camera yet again.  I felt that my taking out my camera and taking photos of camp would lead me away from why I was there; Serving those kids. 

So, lo and behold, I do not have any photos of camp.  In our four weeks on project, I pulled out my camera three times and only used it twice…

One afternoon, before camp started the next day, a number of us got the opportunity to help set up the archery equipment and received a crash course on how to shoot a bow and arrow.  After that, we enjoyed an hour of relaxation and shooting at targets. 

God Bless and PEACE

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