Photojournalist Giles Duley’s essay on the successful marriage of technology & humanity?

Oct 22nd, 2017

Spiral balcony by Samuel Zeller

Giles Duley, Photojournalist answers how we successfully marry technology and humanity.

Over the years I started to see myself as less a photographer and more as a storyteller. I began to realise that photography was the technology that enabled me to tell stories; it’s the medium, but not the heart.

Stories have an incredible power, a mojo, a magic that I can’t explain. They have the power to bring comfort, create fear, share knowledge, teach, record histories and enforce rules – but for me, their greatest gift is in creating empathy.

Since the birth of humankind, sharing stories has been at the core of life. From sitting around campfires, cave paintings to chart music and blockbusters – it’s all about telling stories. And technology has always been at the forefront of finding new ways to tell stories. The printing press, radio, television, Virtual Reality – all of these let us tell stories to greater audiences.

Photography itself was the child of science – at its time as revolutionary as the internet or Virtual Reality. The ability to capture light, to record it, to share that image with others on the other side of the world changed everything. But its power really came when that science was combined with the artistic vision of the early photographers – when they used photography to tell stories.

My great fear of the future is that we increasingly seem to be so driven and in awe of the technology itself, that we forget why it first evolved. As photographers, filmmakers, writers, programmers we must never forget that technology is our enabler, our tool and not the end goal in itself.  With CGI, 3D, VR we are in danger of forgetting to tell the story, and if we forget to do that – we lose our humanity.