Photographing the Hidden Story is the title of a 2009 video by photographer and filmmaker Ryan Lobo that appeared on the TED website. Lobo is well-known for his use of photographs to capture human and natural moments when they are most appealing. Since 2001, he has been taking memorable still pictures that are unlikely to be forgotten. He once worked for National Geographic as a field producer and is the founder of a production company called Mad Monitor.
In the video, Lobo shows that photography is more than merely pointing a camera at something and taking a photograph. He proves that it is an art of telling a story that human beings are very lucky to possess. Photography captures a moment in time that then narrates a story via the visual and emotional form depicted in a photograph. It has gone beyond as time went by, and photographers like Lobo perceive it as a language.
Lobo uses photography to depict intangible things while highlighting untold stories and giving voice to the voiceless. By applying the brilliant language of pictures, he narrates three such spellbinding and unique stories. He used his camera explore and capture both the lighter and darker sides of humanity together with the beauty associated with nature. Thanks to the way he presented their controversial nature with empathy, the audience gets to understand the pain felt by an African warlord, the strength of female United Nations peacekeepers, and the diligence of Indian unacknowledged firefighters. Lobo feels that the stories truly exemplify his work, which he refers to as compassionate storytelling.
In the first story, Lobo shows the lighter and darker sides of human nature. It is about a notorious warlord from Liberia who is ready to stand trial for his crimes that include recruiting child soldiers. He is now a preacher who is seeking forgiveness from his victims families. There is a photograph that shows the warlord in prison cell, one of the locations where thousands of individuals were massacred on his command. Another photograph shows a lingering image of him in another cell with a childs shadow lurking on a wall. This picture depicts the memory of those who lost their lives during the massacre he orchestrated, including young children.
The next two photographs paint a picture of the intense despair and sadness that the general has cast upon the people of Liberia. There is one of a woman expressing her anguish after her brother was killed on the orders of the warlord, while another is of boys who display expressions of hopelessness. Lobo wonders how someone like that can live with himself knowing he has committed such horrendous crimes. The remaining slideshow of photographs depict his current compassionate nature as he asks for forgiveness from the families of his victims.
The second story is about an all-female UN peacekeeping force stationed in Liberia. They appear much better suited for the job than their male counterparts as they apply non-confrontational tactics. Lobo uses photographs to imply that power should be entrusted to those likely to use responsibly. The third story of Indian firemen narrates of them, as leaders of their department, fighting a huge chemical-based fire. Lobo shows how the efforts of such brave and hardworking men go unappreciated in a country where any form of manual labor is despised.
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