Community Is Important and These Photo Stories Prove It

Community is important. There’s the photography community and countless others too. Some photographers like to travel far and wide to focus their lenses on different communities from around the world. Others prefer to stay closer to home and document stories happening locally. Either way, documenting communities is important in the photography world, and it’s something we’re going to look at in the piece.

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Below is a selection of photographs and stories from photographers we featured in 2021. It’s a diverse selection, and all of them touch on deeply meaningful topics. You’ll certainly learn something from these stories, or at the very least, realize something you already knew. Enjoy.

Craig Varjabedian Photographs the Native American Community

Tanysha with Flowers in Her Hair, Keres, Kewa Pueblo. ©Craig Varjabedian

Craig Varjabedian spent many years photographing the Native American community. People young and old made up his subjects as he explored the rich history and culture. “…I remember watching a pow wow dance, standing in awe and being overcome by the wonder of it,” Varjabedian told as he shared how his relationship with the community first began. He added, “…since that time, I have wanted to know more and understand what I had seen, experienced, and felt.” In his early 2021 interview, Varjabedian discussed how he photographs his subjects with empathy, how his series Native Light materialized, and why he uses the Nikon D850 for the work. It’s a worthwhile read and one you can enjoy here.

Matt Yessian Photographs Family Community

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Over time, some of us venture out and discover subcultures and the communities that comprise them. But for most of us, the first community we’re exposed to is the one we call family. Photographer Matt Yessain is best known for his travel photography. However, like most people, the pandemic put a barrier in front of his productivity. Rather than let his Fujifilm X-T4 collect dust, Yessian began documenting the people closest to him; his family. “My goal is for me or my family members to look at a photograph and instantly take them back to that moment as if it just happened. To actually feel that moment again,” he told us. In a candid interview, he spoke about how his mini-series made him more aware of the day-to-day experiences of his children. You can read about it all right here.

JP Stones Documents Traditional Mexican Communities

JP Stones is a photographer and educator. Hailing from the UK, he is currently based in Mexico. Throughout that time, he’s put his attention on traditional Mexican culture and communities. He also runs workshops. Those workshops educate photographers and teach them about the subjects they’re documenting. “Including the local community in my business means we get to create more honest and ethical photos,” said Stones in an interview last summer. Stone is extremely well-spoken, honest, and he can add a lot of value to your photography journey. Read more about him here.

Shady William Looks at Egypt’s Cultural Magic

Sporting traditions have a long history all over the world. Most sports evolve or die out over time. However, one battle between two local communities is still going strong in Egypt. Photographer Shady William traveled to Luxor, a city on the east bank of the Nile River. He titled his series Horses & Knights, which documents one of the world’s oldest fencing competitions. On why he focuses on such an abstract topic, William told us, “I am usually attracted to subjects who have incredible stories, but their voices are hard to hear.” He certainly helps people hear their voices through this series, and you can read more about it here.

Do You Photograph Communities?

If you have a good community project, why not send in your photographs using the form below? If it clicks with us, we’ll share it. Or maybe you have a concept you’d like to share with us in the comments below? We’d love to read about it. Thanks for reading.

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Lead photo by Craig Varjabedian. All photos used with permission.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host professional photographers within the industry.