Podcast: Can A Photograph(er) Make a Difference?


Many photographers begin their careers wanting to “make a difference” with their photography, to bring some good to the world, or at least to the people they photograph. It’s one of the greatest aspects of the craft and its adherents, but can a photo really bring about long-term change? This is an increasingly relevant question, and one that dogs even the most experienced and socially conscious photographers. Despite this dilemma, many photographers forge ahead, shining a light on horrors and glories with the hope that their images have a positive influence and perhaps, because of this dilemma, some photographers have found ways to use their art, labor, contacts, experiences, and insight to raise money specifically for organizations that are “making a difference.”

Salem Krieger is an experienced editorial and portrait photographer who had a seemingly simple realization in 2015: he could sell prints of his work and give a portion of the revenue to a non-profit organization of his choice. From this grew Art is Helping, his system for putting artists and art buyers together and letting the buyers determine how much they spend and which organization they support. In a short time, the roster of artists has grown, as has the varied list of non-profits that benefit from the transactions.

Alison Wright is an accomplished documentary photographer and author whose work has taken her to every corner of the world. Her latest book, Human Tribeis available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In 2000, a tragic, near-death accident on a jungle road in Laos and a remarkable story of heroism and recovery brought a heightened perspective to the strength and spirit that pushes people to help one another—even to risk their lives to help complete strangers. With the resolve and empathy born from suffering, Wright rebuilt her life and career and founded Faces of Hope, a fund that provides medical care and education, especially to women and children in crisis around the world. The first act of Faces of Hope was to return to the village in Laos—and the people who saved her life—with five doctors and $10,000 worth of medical supplies.

We speak with these two photographers about their work and about the mechanisms they have created to bring assistance to those who need it, while continuing to do the photography they love.

Guests: Alison Wright and Salem Krieger

“Tibet Girl” 2005. Photograph by Alison Wright
Malagan Ceremonial Mask, Papua New Guinea, 2010. Photograph by Alison Wright
Cover of Alison Wright’s latest book, “Human Tribe”
“NYC News Stand” by Salem Krieger, from Art is Helping
“42nd St. Alien” by Antonio Mari, from Art is Helping
“Shadows” by Cynthia Karalla, from Art is Helping
“VSH #4” by Julie Gross, from Art is Helping
“Beetle” by Jose Maximiliano Sinani Paredes Shezchez, from Art is Helping
“Auto America: New Mexico” by Salem Krieger, from Art is Helping


Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves


Incredibly inspirational discussion.  Alison Wright, OMG.  So humble, it wasn't until she later in the podcast mentioned some of her experiences that it became evident what an incredible photographic life she has led.  Really enjoyed this session, as all the others I've heard so far.


Thank you for the comment Tim, really appreciate the feedback and yes, Alison is a wonderful photographer and her story is incredible...such a joy to speak with.