The Power of a Photograph

Joshua Drake Photography

Today, we interviewed our Lead Creative, Joshua Drake. As an experienced photojournalist with over 20 years behind the lens, Josh knows a thing or two about storytelling. We asked him about the impact of a good photo and why that is important. [Hint, photos inspire people.] Read more below.

As a photojournalist, how have you seen images move people to action? 

I would say the area in which I have seen the biggest impact has been my work with nonprofits. I know the photos and videos I have taken have brought the issues + the people of Africa, right into peoples homes. If it is truly journalistic and honest, then people can relate to it, and it's when people can relate to an image that they are moved by it. 

Can you describe what makes a photo powerful? 

The human connection. Whether it be one mother looking at a photo of another mother in difficult conditions and realizing how blessed they are or how hard someone else has it, or if it's an engineer looking at a fantastic airplane, it's how people see themselves in the photos that makes it impactful. A lot of landscapes are impactful and they don't have people in them. They are impactful most likely because you've been there or dream of going there and can see yourself in the photo.

In the age of social media, how have you seen photography change? 

The barrier to entry has evaporated. Cost and fear were the barriers in the past. Expensive gear and not knowing how to get yourself out there (market) and can you actually make money? With Instagram in particular, and the cost of technology precipitously falling, everyone is a photographer, videographer and marketer. It's difficult but I think the true photographers, the people that have studied it and live and breathe it, can still break through the noise. Connecting with subjects and shooting content of substance can make you stand out. Quality is still better than quantity, and I think you can see that in the age of social media.

Why do you think the trend is toward video? 

I think it is only increasing. People love audio visuals and it is just a fact of life now.

Any last thoughts on the importance of incorporating visuals into a story?

In the old days of newspapers, they didn't have photos. Then one day someone said hey, lets add a photo, and the newspapers flew off the stand. I think that summarizes the importance of visualizing your story. Let's be honest, people are impatient- if they see text or someone at a podium, it's just less engaging. Photos and video connect the head to the heart.

Joshua Drake Photo

Having studied photography for over 15 years and earning a degree in photojournalism, Josh has traveled the world documenting stories for international nonprofits and some of the world's largest corporations. Josh has mastered the technical understanding of his field, built relationships in the industrial realm and used his gift as a visual storyteller to build brands and launch businesses.  A father of twins and a lover of the outdoors, Josh lives in Charleston, South Carolina and calls the Midwest home.