Archive for February 2008


February 27, 2008

I’ve been looking through a million pictures to use for our conference lately. I’m supposed to be finding pictures that will bring a more real sense of what “poverty” really means to students so that they can empathize and/or at least know what it’s like.

The more I look at pictures, the more I almost have a moral issue with everything that I’m doing. I know that the purpose I have is good, and I know that it will hopefully turn out for the best. But seeing people’s pictures, the people in them, sometimes with students, of just their daily lives and what they’re doing, I almost feel like, who am I to post these up around everywhere, and call it “poverty”? Who am I to judge what their lives are like, to say that these people need help, that we should all be helping them? Who am I to say that my life here is supposedly “better” than theirs? I say that my goal in life is to help the people in this world who need it the most, to better the world in some way. But, what if people don’t want helping? Who am I to decide who needs help and who doesn’t? If these people are happy, why is it that we say that we must help them with this and that and everything in between? Maybe their lives are just plain different than ours, and things we see as lacking is really just a non-need. Granted, everyone needs certain basic things, and that’s what most people are working on giving them, but still, it goes a long way to take a step back and look at what they actually need versus what they don’t have that we do.

It’s also, I feel like, intrusive in many ways for me to put them up. This is these people’s lives, not some isolated incident someone happened to catch on camera, not something demonstrated for the sake of one’s arguments, but it’s reality. It seems, especially since I know the people who worked directly with these people, that I’m invading into someone’s private lifestyles and lives in general. I’m asking all the people I took pictures from if I can post them, but shouldn’t I really be asking the people who they are of? It makes me wonder, all the photographs that are used around the world like this, what the people that are in them would say if they saw a photo of themselves being used in the way that they are.