Browsing the New York Times homepage this morning brought me across this story. It’s about a dangerous mine in Bolivia that the government wants to shut down but that workers don’t want to leave. There are a couple excellent photos and a video attached to the article that very effectively illustrate the mine’s unstable, narrow tunnels and the miners who work in them.
Pictures telling 1,000 words is clichéd. I’ve read short essays that have communicated more than a photo could ever hope to tell, and vice versa. What makes these photos effective to me is how they are able to illustrate a location that most people won’t see in their lives. These photos were taken in a dangerous place, and it probably took a lot of bravery and planning on the part of the photographer to capture them. I think there is a clear payoff in this article.
While writers and photographers can capture what is beautiful in the mundane, they can also take us on a journey that we can experience with them. These documentary photos do just that, lending impact to a story that offers a peak into a different culture.