The Visual Advocate Blog

There is no free lunch in visual storytelling

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When I last wrote, my family was in the process of relocating from Oregon to Atlanta, which turned out to be a huge, but fun, challenge! We have now been in Atlanta for over a month and now that we are getting settled, I have begun to think about exploring the areas around us with my camera.

Like many cities of the world, Atlanta is a melting pot of peoples and cultures from around the world. Where we live is somewhat of a “Little India” and right around the corner from our townhouse is a city called Clarkston, which Time Magazine has called the most diverse square mile in the United States! Just within Clarkston alone, there are refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nepal, Bhutan and many other countries.

I love thinking about all these potential stories waiting to be told. However, as I was lying in bed this morning thinking about all of this, I have to admit I got a bit overwhelmed! As I thought about all these opportunities, I realized that not only is it going to take time for me to find the stories to tell, it is going to require me be disciplined to initiate conversations and relationships and ask for the opportunities to tell peoples stories!

I love doing this, and in fact by nature, I am an initiator. However, there are those times when like most photographers, that I need to remind myself to walk toward my fears and put the time and work into my craft that it takes to tell good stories.

So the moral of the story is lets get out there, walk toward our fears, drink lots of tea, spend lots of time in relationship with folks and when the time and story is right, ask if they would let us use our craft to tell their story!

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Author: The Visual Advocate

Joe Murray, The Visual Advocate, is a Humanitarian and Cultural photographer based in Decatur, Georgia. Joe began his photographic career as an adventure and landscape photographer, but a month-long trip to India in 2009 deeply impacted him and proved to be a turning point in his life and photographic vision. Today, Joe is dedicated to using his craft to create and share compelling images and stories of the lives of the peoples and cultures of the world. While Joe loves and appreciates all the peoples and cultures of the world, he has a particular vision, passion and love for India and South Asia. As both an experienced photographer, public speaker, recruiter and advocate, Joe's goal as a visual artist is not simply to create awareness, but to move people to use their lives and resources to be a blessing to the world's most poor, abused, displaced, stereotyped and overlooked peoples.

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