Power of Documentary


For the first time in over 20 years, I experienced the power of documentary photography and the importance of it.

This image is hard for me to look at but also very significant to remember. It was the last time my mother and I saw my uncle, my mom's brother, alive. He passed away the following morning.

I hadn't planned on taking the photo but when emotions came over me seeing the two siblings together, my heart took over my mind and I found myself reaching for my camera in my purse.

The camera was my old rangefinder. It was in my purse because I wanted to practice with it after we visited. I wasn't even sure if the image turned out because the camera had 400 speed film in it and the lighting conditions were so low. I didn't even know if it was focused properly because it's hard to focus.

After the film was developed, I think I cried when I saw the image turned out. I held up the negatives in the sleeve to the light on the computer's monitor. I could make out the outline of the figures in the frame and immediately wanted to scan it.

The moment the image appeared on the screen, I sat there, staring at the raw emotions, the death, the vulnerability of the moment and felt the power of documentary photography. It was during that moment that made up my mind I want my work to always be from the heart, real, and genuine.

Nothing in life feels genuine anymore. The people, the technology, the lifestyles.. All of these things have become unrealistic, unobtainable and unfulfilling. Turning to not only documentary photography but film documentary photography has opened my eyes to how beautiful our 'real' world can be. Because even through the darkest moments in life, the love someone experiences for someone can always shows us the beauty.