World Humanitarian/ Photography day: The essence of documenting rare moments

By Ndefru Melanie in Bamenda

Both days commemorated on August 19, 2022; world photography and world humanitarian day respectively, draw to mind how much is being archived, whether if all that is taken in form of pictures are for a commercial purpose and if the works of humanitarians have in any way being documented.

These are 2 different events commemorated separately but observed on the same day; World Photography Day 2022 with a theme “Pandemic lockdown through the lens”, while reflection around humanitarian day is on “It takes a village”, reflecting on collective efforts in providing solutions in different communities.

Some humanitarians were glad to have used the day in reflecting on work done so far, thought of mentors met in different fields, solutions applied in different communities in saving lives or serving humanity. Some humanitarians were not satisfied because most of their works may not have been properly documented for posterity sake.

Nkengafack Eucharia is a  Communications Officer with Reach Out Cameroon. She believes that documenting what humanitarians do in form of photographs will help for posterity’s sake, she thought of humanitarians who have died with their works with no one being able to read about them when there are no more.

“Celebrating world humanitarian day and world photography day is a coincidence, first we remember the works devoted persons have carried out in serving humanity, with some of them dying in the process. Humanitarians dedicate their time, effort in serving different communities. Reflecting on “it takes a village”, talking about collective action of individuals worldwide to solve society and community problems, using same action to sort out how to bring about positive change in the community and the environment in which they live in”.

“If we have to talk about humanitarian work, today is not enough to talk about it. But with photography, professionals will help us document evident work that humanitarians do. Most of their work still remain undocumented, if documented in the form of photography could help keep from generation to generation because of the saying that goes “a picture speaks a thousand words. With archived pictures, their impact throughout the world will be read and felt,  photography is one of the sustainable ways to store information”.

Waa Musi, with an artistic name Musinash is a Photo journalist and senior audio visual consultant. He feels many you g people have commercialize photography in it’s entirety, he talks on the polemics arround it, emphasizing on the need to document every moment.

“when we talk about photography, we talk about light and image. It means without the other we can’t obtain the other. If we don’t have light, we can’t have an image or a photo. We look things more from the brighter side; everyone practicing in the profession of photography must have a pure heart. This is interms of creativity, artistory, distinction meaning quality. These are some of the principles that one can uphold to measure in a profession of photography”.

“Talking about documenting images, there is a very high proliferation in the profession in current day photography practice. Many youths are picking up cameras and calling themselves photographers which in my opinion is not the right appellation to give to the practice. Most of them are either adventurers, semi professionals, or youths who want to do something to earn a living. It’s not about carrying a camera, running to events or taking pictures of people printing n giving them out”.

“The profession of photography is something you must invest in it. It’s not about buying equipment, it’s also about intellectual investment. Studying to know what the art is all about, to improve on buisness options, with creativity being an essential tool for this. The photographer sees something different from what any ordinary eye will see. Once he captures that from whatever position, from his point of view it gives value to the image”

“Most photographers take pictures because they have been asked to take pictures by their clients, professional photographers should be able to capture natural moments. Use a drone; take pics of models, do lifestyle shoot. These are areas where photographers will rarely focus at, most of them shoot only for commercial purpose but will rarely go out for something natural”.

“No 2 moments are thesame, more reason why it is important to capture each moment. Photographers should invest in capturing moments, they should give value to every moment. At the humanitarian phase of the crisis, photographers should be able to capture and preserve each thing that happen , this will be great archive.”

Fon Nsoh Coordinator – COMINSUD, has shared his views on dual commemorations, humanitarian and photography both aspects that move side by side.

“Great concerns for the needs of vulnerable suffering and the needy masses in a context where every need can be met, more commitment to bridge humanitarian needs in ways that contribute to growth, deceleration and sustainable peace. Photography and re-photography is important to support better understanding of context, decision making and providing evidence. Develop positive mindset, build resilience and self assertiveness in ways that reduce dependence and vulnerability.”

Jingkoh Laura has passion in serving humanity, as a humanitarian she was touched seeing the vulnerable affected by the crisis, turned an armed conflict. She found pleasure in assisting them in whatever they needed: to have their dignity restored, build their resilience, regain their self esteem and be able to smile again.

“Personally I think enough has been done so far but much still has to be done to get  better results and reach out to the right people. This can be achieve through better coordination and collaboration among all humanitarian actors. It can also be achieved if de government is ready to collaborate with humanitarian actors (INGOs) to permit them have access to some of these areas believing NGOs are here to compliment and not to fight them”.

“Humanitarian activities are not well reported because the collaboration is minimal, humanitarian workers forget to take some of these professional photographers along to cover their activities. Alot is not captured, if humanitarian workers and photographers collaborate since humanitarian workers reach interiors, with alot of challenges and being in an emergency, these photographers can catch the moment. We don’t take pictures of people without their consent, or use these pictures without their permission. But I think photographers can liase with humanitarian workers to understand the basics and cover their activities for archiving”.

Gradually humanitarians and photographers can work hand in glove to document and keep every detail of their walk so that as humanitarians age or die, there is something to remember them, pictures to can serve as a point of reference.


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