The mountains and road reflected in this car mirror represent life's journey. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson

When someone says they are a photographer for National Geographic, widened eyes are a common response because of their influential reputation. Time and time again this organization grips our soul with their powerful images. How can a frozen frame be able to wrench our guts or make us cry? A National Geographic article writes, “Images remind us that a photograph has the power to do infinitely more than a document. It can transport us to unseen worlds.”

Photography has the power to express so many different emotions. When a little girl sees her father walk off the airplane from his time of service overseas, that exuberant smile and happiness can be captured in a photo. These moments are inspirational to humanity.

But when you see a picture of a little boy covered in rags and his bones poke through his skin, hearts break. Seeing this kind of photo is painful and evokes a feeling of sympathy so strong it has the ability to change lives.

Birds scatter across the sunrise giving the opportunity for symbolism. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson
Birds scatter across the sunrise giving the opportunity for symbolism. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson

The beauty of photography is its ability to allow us to learn without directly having to experience lessons about losing loved ones, leadership, love and conflict.

Photography challenges you to go beyond the surface, beyond one single perspective.

Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God states, “There is a depth of thought untouched by words.” Pictures lead us to so many dimensions of understanding that is too difficult to express through pen and paper. Colorado State University animal science freshman, Sara Mejia, said she likes “the immediacy of looking at photos.” Usually, “it takes a lot of time for words to get to the wow factor,” Mejia said. But photography gives the punchline right away.

Mejia is an animal lover and she “appreciates seeing remarkable animals in their natural habitat” up close and personal. Their beauty is exposed at a whole new level just like when journalists capture the corners of the Earth that many of us could never imagine. We are awakened to ‘unseen worlds.’

Find the lessons you can take away from photography, especially when looking at brand new content. My personal philosophy is overcompensation. Do not be afraid of stretching representation too far. I encourage you to look deeper, see deeper and think deeper.

A little girl falls when ice skating but someone is ready to help.
A little girl falls when ice skating but someone is ready to help. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson

What does this picture represent to you? Have you ever felt hopeless or lonely? Look up and find the light above you. Turn around and find the person ready to help you.

This little girl may only see the ground, but once she finds the courage to look up again, she will find her friend’s support with the lights shining above. Photography has the ability to embody emotions, especially hope in this instance.

The mountains and road reflected in this car mirror represent life's journey. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson
The mountains and road reflected in this car mirror represent life’s journey. Photo credit: Kelly Peterson

This picture symbolizes leaving the past behind you but reflecting back upon what you learned from going up and down life’s mountains. Miley Cyrus said it right, “It’s all about the climb.” Moving forward is the next step in each day.

When you look at photos, do you feel a pull from your heart? Photographers travel all around the world to find humanizing frames to clutch our hearts, which is why the media utilizes images: for readers to indirectly experience powerful emotions.

There are many ways one can run with these photos and that is the beauty of evaluating the power of photography. Photography has the ability to awaken souls.

Here is to you and your open mind, a picture has always and will be worth 1,000 words. May photography be your window.