The people who make up today’s thriving photographic community are our eyes to the world. Whether established artists and journalists or passionate emerging voices, they inform us, they inspire us, they amaze us, they put our world in the broader context of history.
But that community also faces great challenges — dwindling sales, increased competition and a fragile trust in photographers’ mission to inform. Too often, those factors can make those of us in that community, photographers and photo editors alike, lose sight of what drive us.
For this post, my last as editor of TIME LightBox, I asked 13 of my colleagues – some of the many photographers and photo editors who have influenced and inspired me over my last ten years in this industry – to answer these essential questions: Why do they do it? Why do they wake up every morning ready to take photographs, to edit them, to publish them? Why is photography important to them and, by extension, to all of us?
Here are their answers.
Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, the New YorkTimes Magazine
Photographs are the universal language of our era. Everyone has hundreds, maybe thousands in their pocket. Weightless, they turn the scale when the argument is: What happened here? Images don’t age or warp. A great photographer’s strings never go out of tune.