The power of photography – Lu Guang

As we all know, photography is more than just “taking some nice pictures”. Photography had and still has the power to influence convictions, opinions and perspectives. It can explain and reveal things, raise awareness, bring joy and hope, but it can also deceive, hide things and be dangerous.


This power of photography isn’t something new. No matter if used for commercials, politics or even religion – ever since photography exists, it has been instrumentalized for diverse interests, purposes and agendas. Very often this kind of power and influence of photography can be dangerous. Dangerous for those who let themselves be influenced, who adopt world views or opinions based on manipulated or instrumentalized images. But also dangerous for those who try to reveal things with their work and make mankind see things that need to be seen. One of the photographers whose mission is to “make people see things” is Lu Guang. In a former article I already told you about him. Here you can read it. For his mission Lu Guang has been permanently risking his life. He didn’t allow governments to intimidate him who didn’t want him to publicly focus on things and situations they want to hide from the public. The numerous awards he’s received for his work over the past few years made him an increasing threat. In particular with regards to China and the realities of the population and the environment, he has sparked public furor on an international level with his photos. We can only imagine how Chinese elites liked that…

For a couple of weeks Lu Guang has been missing. So far there are only speculations what could have happened to him. His wife Xu was told that along with some other photographers he was arrested by state security forces.

So far there isn’t any more information about the reasons or the state the photographers are really in at the moment. The Society for Threatened Peoples assumes, however, that the photographers’ disappearance is related to the dramatic deterioration of human rights in Xinjiang, the region in China where the photographers were seen for the last time.

We can only hope that Lu Guang and his companion are okay and will be released and that they are never going to stop revealing more pieces of truth with their photos. The work of Lu Guang and other photographers in the world who are dedicated to this mission is so incredibly important.


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