As a photographer, I often reflect on how we are conditioned to suppress our curiosity and accept the status quo. This conditioning starts from a young age, where we are discouraged from asking “why” and labeled as a burden or nag if we persist. Truth be told, most adults don’t have the patience for children, and they make it clear to them, most of the time their own children, that they are in the way, and talking too much. This lesson is learned young and is never easy to shake off.
As we grow older, we are told that certain things are just the way they are, and questioning them can lead to unpleasant consequences. As a teenager, we might question why things are the way they are. For example, why do teenagers have to wake up so early to go to school? Why is our life filled with activities but not rest? Why don’t adults have as many activities as teenagers? Why are we being forced to figure out our career, school, marriage, relationships, and religion, all at a young age, with little experience and without even knowing who we are yet? When we ask, we’re told that’s just how it’s always been done.
It’s disheartening to see people give up on asking “why” as they become adults. We might learn not to ask “why” because the other person could become dangerous or erratic. When we ask our partner why they expect us to remind them to do the dishes, they might accuse us of being things we never were. When we question our boss why we have to work from an office for a job we can do better from home, we might be accused of playing lazy. And when we question why priests and religious leaders are still allowed to be alone around children, we’re told to just have faith.
But deep down, we want to ask “why.” We wonder why we can’t do more for a better environment or cut interest from student debt. We question why we have to settle down, have kids, and own a house. And we wonder why we have to balance-beam walk across our lives, careful and patient.
As a photographer, I believe in using my art to challenge these societal norms and inspire people to ask “why” more often. Through my lens, I hope to capture moments that challenge the status quo and inspire others to take action. Whether it’s through capturing the beauty of a person who has never received positive support or affirmation in their life or challenging the norm of women being told to cover up by insecure men, I believe that photography can be a powerful tool for sparking change.
I hope that by capturing these moments and sharing them with others, I can inspire more people to ask “why” and challenge the status quo. Because only through questioning and challenging the status quo can we create a better world for ourselves and future generations. It’s time to break free from the conditioning that tells us to accept things as they are and start asking “why” more often.