The Power of Photography


This weekend we visited the Annenberg Space for Photography, a free exhibit space that is a glorious gift to residents and visitors to Los Angeles. Looking like a small spaceship that has been sent from outer space, it stands in the middle of a Century City office tower courtyard. Its squat, nondescript exterior belies the treasure trove one finds inside. Its current photographic exhibit “The Power of Photography” (which runs until April 27, 2014) must not be missed by anyone who is interested in photography, story, history, current events, knowledge, art, ideas…you get the picture.

The exhibit “presents photography from a wide range of genres and themes – from iconic images to portraits; landscapes to natural history, and more” and it features a 30-minute documentary film that profiles six renowned photographers whose work appears in the special 125 year anniversary issue of National Geographic magazine. The photographers are Lynsey Addario, Marcus Bleasdale, David Guttenfelder, Abelardo Morell, Joel Sartore and Martin Schoeller. The two images below illustrate why I was transfixed by David Guttenfelder’s provocative images of life in North Korea and moved by Lynsey Addario’s commitment to uncover the truth of women’s lives at great personal risk.

by David Guttenfelder
by David Guttenfelder


by Lynsey Addario
by Lynsey Addario

The film is amazing. You can stand or sit to watch it in a space where it screens in a large room on two screens. I stood riveted the entire time.

As we talked again about the exhibit tonight, Bill said, “The exhibit is surprisingly emotional and inspirational.” He added, “The photographers are so thoughtful and articulate about what they are trying to communicate via their photography.”

Natalie has turned to me at least three times in two days and said, “That was an amazing exhibit.” Tonight she explained, “It made me aware of the way photography can capture all of the layers and complexities of the world we live in.”

The 11th graders at Natalie’s high school all take a seminar titled “The Theory of Knowledge.” Natalie is thoroughly interested in the ideas they’ve explored in the seminar and thought that the Annenberg Space for Photography would make an ideal field trip to explore questions, such as:

How does a photographer’s opinions or mission affect what we see?

What does each photograph communicate and what might it exclude?

How can art be used to spread knowledge?

And how can art compliment fact?

Just like Natalie, I keep thinking about the exhibit. I will go back before April 27. I’m sure I will have two companions who will eagerly accompany me.

The Annenberg Space for Photography is located at: 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067. They are open Wednesday-Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm. Their website is


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