The Culture of Capture and Collaboration Video Online / by Zack Smith

As a photographer living in the greatest city in the world, there is no place I would rather be. I have been documenting the unique music and culture of New Orleans since I permanently moved here in the fall of 2000. Originally from Lafayette, I am no stranger to unique cultures and the power they bring to the storyline of a unique city. As a photographer in New Orleans I feel a strong sense of responsibility with the images I make and the relationships I make. I need to make sure I show the music, the street, the Indians and the clubs in the best light and make sure I give back in any way I can.

In this age of a rapidly evolving technology  that allows us to document every moment and minute of our lives I feel it is the photographers and culture bearers of this great city to form stronger relationships so that we can BOTH tell the story of this great city in a way that fosters trust, respect, and responsibility. That is why I, along with Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Louisiana Cultural Vistas Magazine, put together a panel discussion with New Orleans photographers and culture bearers to discuss these topics and more. The video is finally here online. I will preface that the entire video is not online because I felt there was some of the discussion that warranted omitting.

I am grateful to all those who were present. We had a PACKED house of over 80 people who were present to discuss how responsible photographers need to be as documenters of culture and how we can work together with the culture bearers we photograph. As I continue to talk with black masking culture bearers I learn how complicated the relationships and groups tend to be, but hope that we can start a thread that continues through all groups that relies on trust, responsibility and giving back.