Photography is not solely an art form, but a tool of documentation that can make real change in people’s lives. This belief is a large part of why I became a photographer. When I was young, I was inspired by the work of conflict photographers who risked their lives to show the effects of war. These brave photographers were documenting the human costs of battle and I saw that as important. I never wanted to be a war photographer (a bit too risky for my liking) but I did want to make a difference in the world and I wanted to do that through photography.
I went on to study journalism and photography in the US and Europe and as my skill and passion grew so too did my understanding of the power of images. I wanted less and less to focus on the pain people suffer, but more on their hope and their strength. Photography is my tool to enter the lives of my subjects, to learn about their passions and to show a wide audience how others live. If you just ask, people will open up their hearts and share their personal moments, telling you their life story and letting you (and your camera) in. I try to do that as often as I can…or at the very least capture an honest moment.
My work is often reportage for magazines and newspapers however in the last year my work has shifted from more traditional commissions to working as a member of Witness Change, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to pushing and supporting visual storytelling on important issues. The organisation has tackled global LGBT rights and the stories of people living with Mental Health problems. I traveled to Jamaica earlier this year with award winning photographer Robin Hammond to record personal stories of their LGBT community. To hear their stories and ask them about their life was a true honour.
Not everything I shoot is so serious, in reality most is light hearted and fun. I’ve spent a lot of time documenting culture: music, food, events or anything where people come together to celebrate. There is something incredibly exciting about walking through a crowd of people, camera in hand, searching for a quiet moment away from the action or waiting for the right instant where the crowd and the image appears. Whether traveling or on assignment, I love working to make a picture come together. I will find a beautiful location, frame up my shot and wait for the right moment of people passing through to create an interesting composition. This is my favourite challenge to myself. Sometimes poignant or even better, absurd, these are the images I’m constantly searching for and are my favourite ones to catch during the day, small reminders of beauty in the world.
Author : William Lounsbury
William is a photographer at Aperture Tours and leads tours in Paris. A professional photographer specialising in photojournalism, William enjoys to get off the beaten track and shoot spontaneous moments as they are presented to him.