Inspiration: seeing the world all around you

This is a photograph from the National Child L...
Photograph by Lewis Hine c. 1908

Do you ever wonder what blind people think about being blind? I am envious of the heightened sense of hearing. But I bet the blind wish they could see.

Those of us who can see often take it for granted. We pass by beautiful and interesting things, but don’t stop. We miss out on an experience by saying: “I’ll stop next time.”

Once I was driving south down Highway 505 toward Vacaville, CA when I saw the most amazing full moon just sitting on the horizon of rolling hills. I wish I had a 4×5 camera with me. I thought: Next year at this very date and time, I will return to this location with a 4×5 and capture the moment. That day never came. But at least I have a snapshot of it in my mind.

When I became a photography student in 1993, I started to notice things I had never seen before. I had been walking through life like a zombie, completely oblivious to the world around me. When I took my first History of Photography class, I was inspired. Photographer Lewis Hine will forever be my hero. Lewis Hine, a sociology professor in New England, taught his students to take their cameras everywhere and capture the moments they saw. Hine’s own photos were used in Congress to make a case against child labor and ultimately aided in the development of the Child Labor Law.

It takes passion and commitment to make a difference. But it also takes an outstanding level of awareness. If you don’t see something amiss around you, how can you make a case to improve it? Do you know that you have the power and ability to make the world a better place?

Lewis Hine Library of Congress

Lewis Hine: Group of Workers in Clayton, N.C. Cotton Mills

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