LIBERIA: Photographers Contributed To Peace Process Says Journalist Parley

Jacob Parley

Official program marking the 2021 World Photography Day was held in Monrovia, Thursday, August 19, 2021, with a former executive of the National Photographers Union of Liberia (NAPUL), Jacob N.B. Parley, describing Liberian commercial photographers as great capturers of human history and peace makers.

Serving as the keynote speaker at the Monrovia City Hall where program commemorating World Photography Day was held, the former Assistant Secretary General of the National Photographers Union of Liberia said, Liberian commercial photographers took the risk during Liberia’s bloody civil war to capture images through their various lenses to help present a better picture to the international community about what was obtaining on the ground.

The veteran Liberian journalists said  as the then warring factions to the Liberian civil war were portraying themselves as liberators or trading accusations about who was really  helpful or doing harm  for the suffering population of the country, photographs produced  by commercial  photographers presented a better and clearer picture of the situation in Liberia at the time.

Mr. Parley said such images  were able to vividly tell the needed story concerning  what he termed as the “dog eat dog”  scenario with which the Liberian civil war was characterized,   form an effective and instant point of view even far  better than words.

The former NAPUL executive whose keynote address was  characterized by unabated applause from across the floor said as time went by, those who were actively involved in the search for lasting peace to the Liberian conflict began using the images produced by commercial photographers and the media community as tools of communication.

“Photographs produced by us were able to tell the stories of affected areas, hard to reach communities, including the plight of the “differently-able,  the week, the strong  as well as who was actually in control of certain portions of then war-torn Liberia,” observed Mr. Parley.

Addressing the gathering on the Theme: World Remembering the Images of COVID-19, the former Press Union of Liberia vice president, urged NAPUL members to always carryout with activities with respect to all health protocols instituted by the Ministry of Health as efforts continue to defeat the virus.

He said though the  advent of the digital age  is a worthy development, one of its effects on  commercial photography is that it undermines ones income as most programs, including graduations are nowadays  swamped with smartphones.

Journalist Parley also called on NAPUL members to support the Union through due payment and other constructive ventures aimed at transforming the Union.

At the same time he called for networking with other organizations here and out of Liberia so as to expand NAPUL, in the context of capacity building and funding opportunities at the national and international levels.

 He said photography has become an important part of life since the 19th Century and continues to showcase the creativity, work, contributions and craftsmanship of photographers across the world.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Photographers Union of Liberia, Lawrence Fokoe, said his leadership would ensure that chapters of NAPUL are put in place across Liberia before he leaves office.

Mr. Fokoe also vowed to work along with local and international partners to support activities of NAPUL.

The NAPUL boss vowed to make transparency and accountability a hall mark of his leadership and further lauded all the institutions whose financial support made the observance of the 2021 World Photography Day a success.

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