Reaching the Public: The Power of the Image

More highlights from the 2009 Explorers Symposium:

  • Photojournalist Kirsten Elstner, founder and executive director of VisionWorkshops and director of National Geographic Photo Camp, uses photography workshops to mentor, inspire, guide, and connect with young people. “We know that every child has something important to say, and we know that everyone wants and needs a chance to tell his own story,” she says. Photography is an “approachable and effective way to tell a story.”
  • Photographer and National Geographic Young Explorer Ben Horton describes photography as “a way to break free of the barriers that we have in language. We use [photographs] when words simply can’t convey our thoughts any more.” He credits photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols’ images of Mike Fay‘s Africa Megatransect, in part, for the conservation of 11 percent of Gabon in 13 national parks. This “is land that otherwise would have been lost forever.”
  • Photographer and National Geographic Fellow Reza (who spoke last month with BlogWild) devotes himself to training women as journalists in Afghanistan, and to helping publish a magazine for children. “You can’t bring democracy by the guns,” he says. “You bring it by the media, you bring it by freedom of speech. We don’t build schools, because we know in Afghanistan today that school is a target for the insurgency. We think education is a school. It is not in many countries: It can be done under the trees. You just need to have a teacher and educational tools. This is the way.”