Setting The Wheels Of Sustainability In Motion – Moments That Matter (By Muhammad Muheisen)
By Muhammad Muheisen, Canon (www.Canon-CNA.com) Ambassador, National Geographic Photography and Founder of Everyday Refugees
There is no denying that photography has an immense power to evoke emotions, move our minds, touch our hearts and inspire us to take an action. It is the universal language that lets you connect with others without even uttering a word. While my rendezvous with photography happened by chance, I am immensely grateful I discovered this world full of creativity, passion and power…power to create an impact, make a difference and turn our world into a better place for all. Photography found me as a young child and captivated me beyond belief, my first encounter was with my grandmother’s Polaroid camera which to me back then was like a magic box, I would click a button and my magic box would freeze that moment turning it into a picture. That’s the power of photography, it can freeze time, eternalize a moment and give us the ability to relive the moments that truly matter to us. Not to forget the impact it can have on you, a photograph can compel you to take action or make you cry or even transport you back to the happiest moment of your lives. If someone’s looking for a proof of magic, the elusive art of photography may just fit the bill.
Lighting Up Hope
They say a picture speaks a thousand words and in my experience as a photographer, I couldn’t agree more. Growing up in Jerusalem, I was not always surrounded by a playful and happy environment but photography let me escape that. I was a kid with a camera in the middle of chaos however through photography, I found smiles, colors, happiness and most of all an undying spirit of hope in every scenario. Not matter how grim, there was always hope and my camera gave me the power to not just capture this hope into a picture but to spread it world-wide. That’s when I knew I had to convert my passion into my profession, to be a messenger and give people eyes to see what’s hidden, to help them find an extra perspective. I went on to study journalism and political science to deepen my understanding on the humanitarian aspect of society and how I could combine that with my passion for photography to become a storyteller and to create something that would inspire people to act.
Chain-Reaction Of Positivity
Everyone around has a story to tell, big or small, nevertheless they are impactful stories that allow us to learn from each other and photography lets you express that, it empowers you to bring these stories to the center-stage. And that’s exactly what we are trying to achieve through Canon’s ‘Moments that Matter’ competition, to give people an insight into the world of sustainability through the eyes of participating photographers in our collective bid to drive meaningful change for a bright future. My own professional journey started with documenting conflict and war-zones which meant misery, destruction and loss although somewhere along the journey, I found hope and decided to change gears, to document daily lives of people and invoke a sense of joy and cheer through that. Canon’s initiative with Moments that Matter somewhere walks along the same lines, indeed we are speaking of a grave issue related to sustainability but we are also hoping to spark that positive chain-reaction to enable people to see that there is still hope and light at the end of the tunnel.
Enable, Empower And Engage
The first ten years of my career involved me traveling to various different places around the world to cover and document humanitarian crisis such as wars and as heartbreaking it was, I noticed the biggest victims of these calamities were none other than children. So I decided to bring their stories to the world by documenting children affected in these areas of conflicts because they were not just stories, they were voices that needed to be heard. As I began to put more work out in front of the world, people started noticing and paying attention to these children who were in dire need of help and wanted to engage in acts that would bring some sort of relief for those involved in conflict. As the voices were slowly being heard, people started coming forward to provide support and sustenance, thus giving birth to ‘Everyday Refugees Foundation’ where our aim is to support children, refugees, local communities and people displaced internally by war, discrimination or poverty. The idea is to raise awareness on these extremely crucial global issues through photography, exhibitions, lectures and more in order to empower people. What’s noteworthy is the ripple-effect that generates when you decide to do something as simple as taking a photograph, our actions can initiate a series of events igniting a meaningful movement. This is the reason why more companies need to come forward in doing their part for the society and launch empowerment initiatives like ‘Moments that Matter’ that can move the spotlight on dominant issues of today.
Sustainability is perhaps the most important discussion we need to involve ourselves in today, to understand and devise ways in which we can meet our current needs without compromising the need of our future generations. Photography plays an essential role here, it allows us to protect what matters today whilst at the same time enabling us to spread awareness about what will matter tomorrow.
Making A Difference
While ‘Moments that Matter’ has been dubbed as a competition for photographers to showcase their talent in various arenas of sustainability, it is far more than that. It is an initiative tying us all together be it the photographers, judges, audiences or even the company itself in making a difference, in raising our voices to have the most critical discussion of today that will indisputably shape our futures. We are looking at capturing moments that matter not only today but also tomorrow.
The four carefully conceptualized categories for ‘Moments that Matter’ provide us with an unique opportunity to reflect light on some of the most important concerns as well as areas of development and improvement for us and the coming generations. ‘Moments that save us’, one of the categories from the competition sheds lights on documenting moments that speak about nature regeneration and how we can take a leaf out of nature’s book to innovate, design and develop our world. Case in point being earth’s regeneration during COVID-19 pandemic, nature taking over to rehabilitate itself, we are looking for such moments that can inspire and educate the coming generations.
The second category ‘Moments that heal us’ is all about exploring that connection between healthy environment and healthy humans. People and planet are intrinsically connected and this category lets us focus on creating a symbiotic relationship where people and planet can both benefit from each other. Whereas ‘Moments that make us’ is all about exploring the beauty of biodiversity and steps needed to combat climate change and its adverse effects. ‘Moments that develop us’ category is targeted towards creating abundance and economic opportunities through circular economy or conservation of natural resources. The idea is to show a larger picture through this category on how companies are serving the planet and bridging the gap between economics and the environment. All in all, our vision behind ‘Moments that Matter’ is to invoke a sense of responsibility amongst all stakeholders of society to create a better planet for today and tomorrow.
Ultimately, supporting young aspiring photographers who want to make a difference through their art is a shared responsibility that companies and organizations need to embrace in order to become catalysts of change and empowerment. Having worked as a photographer for so many years, I can vouch for the fact that it is not easy to break-in to the industry but at the same time, if you have dedication and determination, windows of opportunities will open up. However, it is essential to utilize the tools we have today such as social media as well as competitions like ‘Moments that Matter’ to ensure our message is reaching the right audience. Photographers and companies need to come together and join hands to spread awareness thereby setting the wheel of change in motion. Through Canon’s Moments that Matter initiative, we are setting the wheels of sustainability in motion today to create a positive impact for tomorrow.
To know more, join the masterclass webinar with Canon Ambassador Muhammad Muheisen on 22nd Dec at 8PM GST, as talks about the topic- Enable, Empower and Engage. Register here! (https://bit.ly/3Gz6oqw)
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA).
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About Canon Central and North Africa:
Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) (Canon-CNA.com) is a division within Canon Middle East FZ LLC (CME), a subsidiary of Canon Europe. The formation of CCNA in 2015 was a strategic step that aimed to enhance Canon’s business within the Africa region – by strengthening Canon’s in-country presence and focus. CCNA also demonstrates Canon’s commitment to operating closer to its customers and meeting their demands in the rapidly evolving African market.
Canon has been represented in the African continent for more than 15 years through distributors and partners that have successfully built a solid customer base in the region. CCNA ensures the provision of high quality, technologically advanced products that meet the requirements of Africa’s rapidly evolving marketplace. With over 100 employees, CCNA manages sales and marketing activities across 44 countries in Africa.
Canon’s corporate philosophy is Kyosei (https://bit.ly/3l3V9OC) – ‘living and working together for the common good’. CCNA pursues sustainable business growth, focusing on reducing its own environmental impact and supporting customers to reduce theirs using Canon’s products, solutions and services. At Canon, we are pioneers, constantly redefining the world of imaging for the greater good. Through our technology and our spirit of innovation, we push the bounds of what is possible – helping us to see our world in ways we never have before. We help bring creativity to life, one image at a time. Because when we can see our world, we can transform it for the better.