PictuRing change

      34 Comments on PictuRing change

S4C Founder Antonio Amendola

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.”

Your thoughts?

34 thoughts on “PictuRing change

  1. Katrina Tacconelli

    I absolutely love Italy. It is my favorite place of all time. I would do anything to go back soon. I love photography and am continueing to learn about photography each and every day. The shoot for change is very inspiring and it is wonderful that the school continues to have it.

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  2. Maya

    Visuals are such a powerful tool because they draw our eye in and leave an impression quicker than words would. When it comes to organizations like Shoot 4 Change, spreading stories can be best executed through powerful photographs. It’s so great because you might first see an interesting photo of a person and then wonder and want to learn more about them, which may be in the form of a longer written piece. Together each type of content complements the other.

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  3. Daniella Opabajo

    I think that images have the power to ignite change. As humans, we naturally get a different reaction when we see something versus when we read about something. This past summer, I visited the Newseum in Washington D.C. One of the exhibits in the museum focused on Pulitzer prize-winning photos. It was a dark room filled with dozens of award-winning photos, and each photo meant something different. There was one particular photo of a woman trying to save her child from being recruited into war. The photo showed the mother blocking the older soldiers from taking her child. The image was so moving and captivating that many people got emotional while looking at it. The old saying “seeing is believing” is the reason why images mean so much more to us. One image can tell a whole story.

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    1. Summer

      It’s a noble cause to take up a cause for those who cant advocate for themselves. I also find that this can be slightly problematic. Many times media outlets can sensationalize the circumstances of the less privileged. Rather than helping those affected by a tragedy, these outlets want to publish a story. Though I think it’s important to help voice the experiences of those who cant for themselves and to raise awareness one must also be instrumental in helping them. As media professionals, we are responsible for exposing the truth but one is also responsible for aiding in bettering the situation of others.

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  4. olivia abbatiello

    The idea of using visuals to convey messaging has always appealed to me. This reminds me of what Humans of New York does, telling the stories of all different people from varying walks of life through imagery. There are some words involved, but the story really lies behind the eyes, or the hands, or the clothing, or the environment the photo is conveying.

    As a millennial, I am so much more accustomed to being attracted towards image-heavy posts, rather than copy heavy. It’s been proven that the American peoples’ attention span has diminished over the course of the last century, so it only makes sense for visual communications to take a real lead on the PR front.

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  5. Patrick Picarsic

    I think photographers have been doing this forever…well at least as long as the technology has been around. The Vietnam era has a bunch of powerful images that shaped public opinion; Napalm, Kent State, summary execution…There’s no shortage of things that need to be photographed.

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  6. John Grillea

    Photographs create a serious amount of emotion. As text does the same, it’s nowhere near the magnitude of seeing a visual. As PR professionals, we are aware of the power photographs have. SC4 sounds very interesting and I was totally unaware prior to this post. This will be a great addition to Hofstra University.

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  7. Amina Antoury

    Using photos are always a compelling way to convert something. Photos create movement and emotion. Combine that with powerful words to a story worth listening to and you will have your audience captivated.

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  8. Meghan Von Elm

    Photos are powerful tools used for conveying messages because they can portray things first-hand. You can only describe so much in written text. But photos give every detail visually. S4C sounds like an incredible thing. I wish I could get involved in some way. Photography has always been a hobby of mine, and it would feel really good to put that hobby to good use.

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  9. claudiabarnard

    I have never heard of S4C but it sounds like an amazing organization. Using creative methods like photographs and artwork really adds an aspect to this organization because seeing things is more moving than just hearing about what is happening. I love that Hofstra is now adding a chapter because hopefully more students will get involved and be inspired.

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  10. Matthew Leong

    Photos are always a very compelling way to tell a story. Seeing is believing and a picture is worth a thousand words are all proof of this. If photographers can capture all the emotion and action involved in a story, then the words will only be a secondary method of communication. With the younger people growing away from reading things, photos would be the second best form of media, next to videos.

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  11. Megan Pohlman

    Until your post, I have never heard of Shoot for Change (S4C). Although I am not a photographer, journalist or a painter, I would love to be a part of this organization. It appears that it has changed many lives and their perspective on life. As a visual person, I believe it is important to show what is occurring in the world and tell untold stories. I am eager to learn more about the S4C and hope to be eligible to attend the conference in April.

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  12. Chris Bounds

    I think that Shoot for Change is a very effective way of telling these peoples stories. Photography and art since World War II have been an effective way of influencing public opinion. I wouldn’t go as far to say that these forms of storytelling are their own way of PR, but rather a subsection. I do think though that S4C has come across their own effective way of using their skills and talents to help people.

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  13. Rosaria Rielly

    I have never heard of the group S4C but it sounds like a great organization and the conference they are hosting sounds like something I would be interested in attending. I used to take photography classes in high school and although I never got to use my pictures for anything beyond the class, I enjoyed seeing the world in a new perspective and I enjoyed seeing what visual effects I could do to capture the best moment. Images can be powerful and can help complete a story from offering a visual representation, not just a descriptive representation, of what the message is.

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  14. czackarypenn

    “Seeing is believing.” Giving someone a visual platform for their work is always better than simply describing it. That is why photo and video journalism are becoming increasingly pertinent in today’s society. Seeing photos can swing an individual’s opinion much easier than words because photography is inherently more powerful. If public relations professionals are looking to enhance their message, using photography or video is a great way to do so.

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  15. Matt Howard

    SC4 is helping innovate PR through photography. Two things that stick out to me from class this semester are the agenda setting theory and the concept of technology allowing everyone to be a journalist. It appears as if SC4 is ignoring what makes news and is giving people the power to tell the stories that they want to tell. For so long PR has had to rely on traditional media outlets and ways of doing things. Technological advancements like accessible cameras and social media give people and organizations like SC4 the ability to disrupt the system and communicate on their own terms. To answer the post’s initial question, photographs do have the power to change the world. The way SC4 is going about presenting photographs has the ability to not only change the world but change the way people go about changing the world.

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  16. Haley Nemeth

    Visuals can definitely change the world. In my personal experience videos have a great effect on calling people to action. One of the main reasons I chose to go vegan 4 years ago was due to the pictures and videos I saw of the animal cruelty. Words can work wonders, but pictures and videos allow the emotions to come across without the need to say anything. Some of these problems that need change are so hard for people to wrap their head around and imagine that visuals show them exactly what is going on. S4C sounds like an amazing organization and I am excited to see what they do at Hofstra.

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  17. Unice Kim

    I believe that photographs can say a lot without using any words. I think SC4 is very interesting because effective way to influence opinions and inspire action. I really liked the quote, “We tell untold stories and we give eyes and voice to those who do not have it,” I feel like this quote is so powerful and sums up what this organization does.

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  18. Shayla Sales

    I think this program that S4C brought to Hofstra is a beautiful and ideal method to raise awareness of others misfortunes while engaging the masses visually and artfully. Telling a story through visuals allows the message to fully resonate with the audience. The beauty of visual art forms is the view or perspective in which others interpret the images. I also like the program because it benefits everyone involved; the business, professionals, the students, and the people. I hope this program continues to grow as well as raising awareness of the issues of those in need.

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  19. Raffaella Tonani

    I love writing. Authors that can transport readers minds to an unexisting world are poweful. What I find fascinating is how what I can imagine can be extremely different to what another reader migh picture.

    However, when reading articles about the italian earthquake or life stories that might feel foreign to many people, what imagined might not even resemble the reality. Photo and videojournalism is a way viewers can understand a little what the subject of the story has been or is going through. Visual presentation makes it easier for viewers to put themselves in the subjects shoes.

    I could not go to Italy, I am happy to know S4C came to New York too.

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  20. Gianna Losquadro

    There’s a reason there’s the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Photos have always had the ability to move people in emotion- whether the emotion is happy, sad or angry. Photographs have a way of reaching an audience like no other. It’s an extremely powerful way for a brand to reinforce a message, but often it’s powerful enough to stand-alone. SEC reminded me a lot of Humans of New York and what the photographer catches regularly, untold stories that deserve to be told.

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  21. Delaney Barac

    Shoot 4 Change has created an amazing way to bring awareness to issues that are not typically seen by the public. A picture is worth a thousand words and S4C proves that exact theory. Photographs can be even more powerful at evoking change than words because when people actually SEE the damage and turmoil in a photograph, they know change is needed. I am definitely interested in learning more about S4C. The unique event happening in April is something I would be interested in going to because although I am not a photographer, I want to make a change.

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  22. Paula Chirinos

    Whenever I think of photography, social change and journalism, my mind immediately goes to Jacob Riis. His photography contributed greatly to the work being done by “muckrakers” at the time in challenging injustices of society. Being told that there are great faults in our system of governance is one thing but capturing the world’s attention through a photo can be much more stimulating. My Mass Media class was discussing this particular topic and agreed that the addition of photography in papers was a major step for news reporting. The scene being described by the story is clearer to the reader. The same advantage can be said for pictures that are used in conjunction with a push for social change.

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  23. McKenna Heim

    I’ve been a photographer for several years now and it is especially intriguing to me when people can make their art into something beneficial for mankind. It’s very rare, surprisingly, because most people want to capture a general form of beauty most of the time. I’m interested to see before and afters of how Hofstra’s students changed their online presence.

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  24. Ana G Canahuate Torres

    Using images to tell a story is very powerful because of the general idea of an image. How one is essentially capturing an action conducted in a certain moment in time. I believe that the iniciative taken by the school of communications to take their Hofstra students to actually capture these moments. There is no doubt that an image has a greater impact than words used to describe an event rather than showing it through a picture. The emotions that can be transmitted though an image are simply endless and truly mesmerizing yet captivating.

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  25. Steven Freitag

    They say “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” but sometimes it can be worth much more than that based on the message attached to it. I appreciate the S4C’s message and what they are trying to achieve deserves praise. Adding a NY chapter after the Italy trip is wonderful and makes me think about going on an abroad learning trip with the school in the summer or winder breaks. The school provides and presents an overabundance of opportunities to expand your learning capabilities across all continents and countries. Things like this make me proud to be a Hofstra student.

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  26. Kristina Barry

    Photos are very powerful. You are able to see things, places, people, monuments, etc outside of your everyday bubble. The best thing about photos is that everyone sees them differently and has their own interpretation of them. I think that this program will allow the “little” people, those who aren’t famous to tell their story and gain exposure and recognition. I think it is a great idea and will allow for the people viewing their work to truly think about what they’re looking about and dig into their emotions.

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  27. Abby

    Pictures are one of the best ways to catch an audiences attention and to keep a memento from an occasion for a long time. In the media pictures are one of the top ways people communication with their family, friends and the world. Communication has changed immensely from how it used to be, you would take a photo on a camera then wait for it to get developed then see it. Now, you get instant gratification by just lifting up your phone and checking social media. That’s why I feel that S4C is immensely important, it represents a voice for the voiceless and it teaches people important information through photos which are more valuable then word of mouth.

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  28. Kaitlyn Cusumano

    I believe that photographs are the most powerful way to reach an audience. Pictures can capture emotions and feelings more than words can describe. There is a realness that comes through with pictures that you can not get in other forms of communication. People often say that the public will forget what you say and what you did but they will never forget how it made them feel. Photos are exactly that, they make you feel. Therefore, they are the strongest way to communicate a message.

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  29. Kaitlyn Cusumano

    I believe that photographs are the most powerful way to reach an audience. Pictures can capture emotions and feelings more than words can describe. There is a realness that comes through with pictures that you can not get in other forms of communication. People often say that the public will forget what you say and what you did but they will never forget how it made them feel. Photos are exactly that, they make you feel. Therefore, they are the strongest way to communicate a message.

    Reply
  30. Jessica Gilmour

    When it comes to reaching the public pictures speak louder than words. Seeing a picture creates more emotion than hearing about what is happening; it creates a sense of realness and authenticity. I think this program is a great public relations tool because it will create more of an emotional reaction from the public who views the pictures.

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  31. Ian Budding

    The opportunity to use your photography skills and give untold stories the chance to be explored must be an extremely great cause to involve yourself in. Especially after doing it for a period of time, the fact that the students wanted to continue doing it and take more photos is amazing. The beauty of the world is through the eye of the beholder and it starts with the photographers that capture the moments that they see the need to document. As humans, too, we love hearing stories that are worth the listen. If they’re interesting and untold, I personally think that they should have the chance to be heard.

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  32. Brianna Flynn

    I was not aware of the existence of Shoot for Change, but reading about it now, I am so glad to hear about it exists. Shoot for Change seems to truly encapsulate the idea of a picture being more compelling than words. Sometimes a picture says more than words ever could. I think that the presence of a network like S4C at Hofstra can bring awareness to issues that we either address the wrong way or don’t address at all in our lives and in the media. I hope that S4C will host panels or discussions at Hofstra in the near future.

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  33. Jeffrey Werner

    The old saying is “a picture is worth a thousand words.” A picture gives people visuals rather than forcing them to use their imagination with words. It gives an insight to something or somewhere they may never get to experience. At the same time, we need to be careful with pictures. Much like words, people can have different interpretations of a photo. We all have different ideas and perspectives so a photo only can’t tell a whole story, but definitely helps someone understand what’s the meaning or message the photographer is trying to get across.

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