Can pictures change the world?
Fifteen months ago I accompanied 11 Lawrence Herbert School of Communication students and a colleague to Italy where we took on projects on behalf of Shoot 4 Change (S4C). S4C is a dedicated network of professional and amateur photographers, journalists, painters, and others who believe they can change the world by telling visual stories about those in need. We met with S4C representatives in our classroom and at its former Rome headquarters, The House of Storytellers. The students worked to upgrade S4C’s web site, enhance its social media activity, improve Italian-to-English translation for documentary videos, and create content for its various platforms and media outlets.
We also traveled to L’Aquila, an earthquake-ravaged city, then still struggling to recover after six years of ineffective government assistance. The experience was so moving that several students vowed to continue to engage with Shoot 4 Change after returning to the United States.
Now, Shoot 4 Change New York has been formed as a chapter of the international group. Based at Hofstra University and led by recent graduate Ashley Iadanza and Professor Randy Hillebrand, S4C New York will recruit local photographers, videographers and students to tell local stories of those who otherwise might not have any exposure at all. A campus-wide awareness campaign has begun on behalf of the organization.
Building on SC4’s primary mission, Hofstra will host a major conference in April 2018. It will focus on issues of refugees and other human stories for which people can make a difference. I’ll write more about this unique event in the weeks ahead.
“We tell untold stories and we give eyes and voice to those who do not have it,” notes Shoot 4 Change Founder Antonio Amendola on the organization’s Facebook. “Step by step, photo by photos, click by click…we’ll change the way people look at the world.” Call it visual public relations if you’d like. It’s a proven, effective way to influence opinions and inspire action. “You don’t have to be a big shot professional to be part of S4C,” says Amendola. “Grab your camera, go down on the street and shoot stories.”