Educating pictures

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I was pleased last week with a visit from Rick Smolan, the creator of some very creative photo-projects, such as From Alice to Ocean, America 24/7, Blue Planet Run and his latest America At Home. Since the early 90s, From Alice to Ocean stuck with me when it was first introduced and distributed with Apple computers and the clever use of multimedia capabilities built into the Mac early on. But the great thing about these projects is not just the stunning imagery but rather what they evoke. Again, the value of photography is in the eye of the beholder.

Rick approaches photography in the same way I look at business; by simply surfacing the facts. So much in our lives is influenced by mountains of politics and rhetoric that reduce the chance of quick resolution and success. How do you think we can ensure a vibrant global economy and peace if 1.1 Billion people – 1 in every 6 – worldwide have no access to clean water. The book Blue Planet Run displays that with chilling accuracy.

But Rick Smolan’s projects shed light on reality, good and bad. America at Home is a compelling compilation of how American families live at home, rich and poor, photographed by the families themselves and complemented by photographs from professional photographers. The pictures and their captions are so inspiring that a country decided to buy more than 200,000 books to educate their children on who Americans really are. Transparency works both ways.

I would like to see Rick do a book of “The World at Home”, so I can continue to sit down with my daughter and give her a peek into the living rooms across the world.

Our welfare greatly depends on our ability to become a citizen of this world. To achieve that every school should at least purchase one of Ricks books so our children receive an objective view of the opportunities and problems in our global eco-system and thrive.


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About Georges van Hoegaerden

Georges is a serial entrepreneur, venture catalyst, 4x CEO, board director turned innovation economist (by fate). His ideas have raised $14M in venture capital and produced over $100M in returns. More.