In preparation for our Blogger’s Trip to Guatemala in April, Lemonade International is spending each week leading up to the trip profiling each of the bloggers that will be participating. Recently, they profiled our official trip photographer Scott Bennett.
Scott calls himself a “humanitarian photographer”. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking (accompanied by an eye-roll) “Everybody’s a photographer now”. And yes, some of us like to think we have an eye for this stuff (MySpace profile shots and Instagram pictures excluded), but Scott is different on many levels.
First, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to open up his blog and his online portfolio page and not see any pictures with filters and major edits done to them. Like a true photo artist, he seems to consider the camera and the subject as his primary tools of his craft, not Photoshop. If he uses it, he uses it as any artist uses any aid: he doesn’t so you can’t tell.
Secondly, any real photographer can tell you that there is far more to truly beautiful and meaningful photo art than mere “composition” or simply “capturing an image.” There has to be movement, narrative, and/or dimensionality.
Interestingly, our trip photographer has his Ph.D. in Spanish, Portugese, and Latin American Literature. He is a professor in these topics at Point Loma Nazarene University. He met his wife in Guatemala, and has spent much time in Central America. And yet, he is still thoroughly American and calls San Diego home.
What this strange confluence of cultures does in him (I’m presume) is give him a special vantage point to those he photographs. He doesn’t need to “impose” some Western American narrative on the photo to make sense of it as an outsider would do, nor does he end up creating photos that alienate and seem odd to outsiders as an indigenous photographer would do.
Instead, he truly is able to sense, see, and capture the truest “essence” of people and moments and photograph them in ways that others can connect with. This helps him, it seems, accomplish his goal to “capture subjects in a dignified way, while showing compassion and respect for the human condition.”
In a sense, I think he could also call himself a “missionary photographer”.
He has graciously offered for all the rest of the blogging crew next week to use his pictures free of charge for our posts, so I anticipate you will be seeing a lot more of his images over the next few weeks.
Check out his blog, his Lemonade International profile, his online photo portfolio. Also be sure to bookmark this page on my blog to follow my trip to Guatemala! Click the banner below for more info in the trip.