Throughout the history of photography, the passing down of knowledge has been an integral part of the medium. Those with the experience passed the lessons learned to those starting out.
Back in the late 80’s when I started in my twenties, even with all the privileges afforded to me, a middle class, white, heterosexual male, the task of becoming a freelance photographer was a daunting one.
So many photographers, graphic designers, art directors, and yes even some clients were incredibly patient and willing to spend time with this kid fresh out of college.
My gratitude towards those acts of kindness has fuelled my own journey. I have had numerous high-school students job shadow with me over the years, I have given talks to a variety of clubs, been involved in free seminars, I’m always mindful to pay it forward.
The events these recent weeks of the murder of many people of colour, ongoing discrimination and the protest to counter systemic racism, have in fact highlighted the importance of images and how they will continue to play a role in furthering the conversations necessary to move our community forward.
The next generation of storytellers and image-makers should be a truer reflection of our community. And yet, the mentorship is often a privileged thing, where people who face systemic barriers, including people of colour, do not benefit from such opportunities.
It’s for this reason, I am making a conscious effort to break those systemic barriers, and mentor two image-makers who are indigenous or people of colour, who want to use the medium of photography to tell their stories. This criteria will allow me to use my privilege to help break barriers, move toward removing systemic racism, and allow me to learn as well, for the final goal of creating new voices in this artistic space.
I will listen, I will learn and then I will leverage my experience, and use all my resources to help these photographers in any way I can, whether it be advice on technical aspects of the craft, advice on creative approach or even help with the business side of things.
As creative professional an ally, and co-conspirator, I feel it’s imperative we do what we can to support those who’s voices were historically silenced.