As I have been studying photography more, a serious desire to pursue photojournalism has taken root. But this desire has also been in a constant battle with my natural impulse to produce or mimic things that are visually pleasing and beautiful. I've felt at times that I have to choose between the two, and that it may be a struggle for me to give up control over the placement of my subject or let go of some element of direction, and yet still be able to make a beautiful photograph. So many photographers are able to do this, but the aesthetic I strive for, I fear, might be lost in the process.
Then I look at the work of Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravos, who managed to do both so beautifully and seamlessly. Their photographs have such a similar point of view, it's hard sometimes to differentiate between the creators and their creations. Neither of them are necessarily considered photojournalists, but often their images have similar characteristics. What they accomplished is so much like what I hope to be capable of myself. They each took beautiful photos that are staged and arranged, but also ones that are documentary, that they happened to capture during a precise moment or event. Some, like the last one by Manuel, are hard to look at, but they stir emotion and are a testimony to something that happened – something that people should know about. And despite the differences in circumstance and either lack or control of direction, their photos maintain a cohesiveness; a seamless collection with a singular voice. They're beautiful and inspiring.
A lofty goal perhaps, but I really hope to achieve this in my picture making someday. I want to take photos that are beautiful, but not just artistically. I want them to carry a message, share a story or communicate an issue that needs attention. I want my photos not only to mean something, but to do something.