Written by Ivy Gordon on June 18 2016

Distant Reflections: Why I Am a Photographer

In 2012, I picked up the book “The Ragged Edge of the World", by journalist Eugene Linden, which describes the loss of natural and cultural legacy when ancient traditions and the natural world collide with the various forces of modernity. Linden’s words ignited my decision to travel and explore the cultural and humanitarian aspects of developing countries and investigate the multifaceted edges of this collision.

As I began to explore the world the thought emerged to share what I was seeing and on safari in Botswana I once again picked up a camera. I wanted to tell the stories about the places and people that were my honor to witness and to share them with the world.

Stories are all around us. They are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. We often say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for a good reason. Humans have been telling stories since we painted on caves. The explosion of visual content into modernity has been exponential since.

Why am I a photographer? I am a photographer because the act of photography makes me a braver person. It pulls me to go places and experience situations where I am uncomfortable. My desire to capture images pushes me to find a more courageous place inside of myself and has helped me to stretch and grow as a person.

Photography is difficult. It is the blend of right and left brain thinking; so much technical knowledge is needed but it is worthless without passion and personal vision. To become even a decent photographer is a lifelong learning journey, and the journey to mastery is one of commitment and dedication. In this, photography was the perfect answer to my own search for a lifelong, abiding passion. Photography pushes on my edges and keeping me green and growing.

In my personal work, I’ve adopted National Geographic’s mission of visual storytelling: “to touch hearts, raise awareness of urgent issues and take people on journeys to places they will never go”. Although my reach isn’t as great, I hope to add my verse to the chorus of photographers who believe that images are a powerful force, not only for personal growth but for social change. Through my images and stories I feel like I am fulfilling my life’s purpose to “Help people see a bigger picture”.


Distant Reflections, a photography exhibition of Ivy Gordon’s work will be on display at Bread and Cie Cafe from June 29th through July 28th. All proceeds will benefit  Outside the Lens' mission of empowering youth through photography, filmmaking and digital media.


Nancy Hopwood:

Jun 19 2016 11:10:37

Thank you brave Ivy. Well said. Beautiful.

jj weiss:

Feb 02 2017 02:54:08

touchingly and lovingly written, which only adds to your piercing images. my experience on being brave when i’ve got a camera in my hand. i’ve been threatened and jostled by mobs and damn scared, but the joy of having made an imperative picture. jj

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