The popular adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that a single still image can represent a complex idea. Images have proven to be powerful tools in driving political and social change, perhaps because images have no language barriers or intelligence limits.
Kasper Nybo, an independent humanitarian photographer from Denmark, has dedicated his life to capturing world events through images. Immersing himself in events such as the 2010 Tsunami aftermath in Japan and the Haiti earthquake, Nybo has been able to successfully capture images that raise awareness, as well as funding to different organizations around the world. Working internationally as a graphic designer and freelance photographer for over ten years, in 2010 Nybo decided to channel his skills into something more fulfilling. “Being in marketing for a while, I was basically making rich guys richer,” says Nybo. “And there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but I wanted something more, something different. Living in a Western country can make us very shortsighted, and I don’t like this. I needed to broaden my horizon, not in a ‘save the world’ kind of way, but in a structured, honest and simple way.”
Seeing photography as the platform to raise awarness around the world, Nybo decided to become a photojournalist full time. “I was tired of people not giving me straight facts when it came to helping people in need,” explains Nybo. “If someone wants me to donate money, don’t wrap things up nicely in order not to shock me in my world view. Show me the real picture. Show me the problems. Then you’ll get my attention. I love being able to create this straight-up way of communication, and I think people appreciate being spoken to like intelligent people.”
Photography is the place it starts for me. We communicate visually today, so to attract any donors, this is the area we must focus on developing.
Nybo engrossed himself in photojournalism because, in his mind, pictures never lie. “Photography is the place it starts for me. We communicate visually today, so to attract any donors, this is the area [we] must focus on developing,” states Nybo. “But of course you need to adjust your strategies as well, to be in tune with where your audience (or future audience) is. It’s not a fragmented process, but an ecosystem crucially important to professional humanitarians today. I’m extremely excited to be in the middle of this.”
Currently, Nybo is delving into the impacts of global warming. “[So] many humanitarian issues need to be brought to life,” says Nybo. “I see many people questioning the actual or ‘real’ effect of global warming. I think all you need is to have a quick look at what’s going on in Africa with droughts and famines arising due to shifting rain patterns.”
Even though Nybo throws himself in the middle of some of the most devastating events that will forever go down in history, he continues to stay positive. “As much as I see pain and suffering, I see an immense strength and will to move forward in so many people that might have absolutely nothing else,” explains Nybo. “We can all learn so much from this.”
For Nybo, this strength starts with telling honest and true stories about people. “We may not always like what we see, but ignoring [these issues] is even worse. If I feel something when I work, this will translate into stronger images, and call upon feelings in my audience. The more important question is what we do to act on these feelings and facts. In the end, it’s not about how much death or destruction I see, it’s about people.”
So what can we do to help? For Nybo, the most effective way people can help is to reach out and talk. “[Edmontonians can help by] connecting with me on Facebook to help me spread the stories of people in need,” explains Nybo. “[But] the world is of course much bigger than Facebook, so ask yourself if what you’re doing right now is what you dream about doing. Are you living your passion and does that passion embrace and touch the lives of others? Many times, before we can see and help others, we need to look at ourselves, and stop thinking about limits and barriers.”
What started in an airplane hanger has now become something of an annual pilgrimage for music lovers seeking one of most diverse festivals in the world. Iceland Airwaves 2015 served up an array of both established and emerging hip-hop, rock, indie and electronic music. Even larger than last year, the festivities were stretched over five days, November 4th-8th with over 240 acts appearing in over 50 official/unofficial-venue sites across the long weekend. From hostels and record stores to the Reykjavík Art Museum, the majority of public spaces were transformed into a stage. The opening night was something of an Icelandic showcase, as Reykjavíkurdaetur (translation Reykjavík’s Daughter) unleashed it’s 13 piece all girl hip-hop collective earning rousing responses with an explosive set at NASA. Dressed in nude body suit’s the girls took turns passing the mics to trade verses and deliver hard choruses shouted in Icelandic. Much kike SXSW, bands take the opportunity to play several shows over the course of the festival. Milkywhale (formed by choreographer Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir and musician Árni Hlöðversson of FM Belfast) had a string of sets including the festival’s opening at the very packed Laundromat Cafe. The post-pop duo are Iceland’s equivalent of a slightly
We’ve all seen the bumper stickers – the line of rainbow coloured, collared bears dancing along the back of some asthmatic old car on its way to a festival. Beyond the bears, we’ve delighted in the genius ice cream flavour that is “Cherry Garcia,” or thought that wearing a wreath of red roses would be the perfect accessory to a rock show. The almost cult-like status of The Grateful Dead is so prevalent, so omnipresent, so engrained into our society that many people don’t even realize what the tie-dyed, trippy references harken back to. Which is a shame. Their music was innovative and spoke for a generation of young souls who couldn’t explain what escape they needed until they heard it booming out of a speaker during an acid trip. The idea of the Grateful Dead has somewhat taken over the music of the Grateful Dead for subsequent generations. Director Mike Fleiss has successfully managed to bring it back to the music with his new documentary The Other One. He lets the story of the band be told first-hand through the oft-overshadowed Bob Weir (lead singer, rhythm guitarist and writer) as well as 30 years worth of archive and interviews.