Words to pictures…

Words can be powerful but a photograph can speak a thousand words. So what can a writer with a camera tell us about the world we live in? Does the camera add an extra dimension to the message?

Karen Zusman is a poet. She makes pictures with words. In the last few years her words have changed as she’s added photography to what she does and discovered how powerful it is as a communication tool.

It was as recently as 2012 that Karen got her first “real” camera. A trip to Myanmar, documenting stories of human trafficking of Burmese refugees in South East Asia, with the non-profit organisation she co-founded to bring free education to child labourers brought the realisation of the power of photography. She was shooting with a cheap point and shoot while she was there. Then she met a “wonderful” photojournalist in Yangon, Afghani-Swiss Zalmai Ahad. He gave her an impromptu portfolio review and advised her, based on how she was shooting (rather than on what she was shooting), to upgrade to something she could really control artistically. The Fujifilm mirrorless X-T1 had just come out so she bought it.

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By Chris Coe

Chris is a professional photographer, and the founder of Travel Photographer of the Year. He has been working as a professional photographer since 1992, shooting both editorial and advertising photography, and has published over 50 books. He lectures on and teaches photography, mentors and is a competition judge.