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When photography changes lives: A Serrah Galos Story (Pictures & Video)

When Serrah Galos photographed refugees in Wau, South Sudan the moment reminded him why he loves his job—It changes lives. Galos describes himself as a Humanitarian and Development Photographer. His work describes him as an agent of change.

His name resonates deeply in the realms of social activism and visual storytelling. His work, characterized by its raw power and profound empathy, has become a beacon in the world of advocacy, proving that photography is not just an art form but a potent tool for social change.

“Helping them rediscover that joy, even in difficult times, is what I love most about my job.”

Born in 1995, Serrah has been in the photography industry for ten years experimenting with different kinds of photography.

He has worked with people from various backgrounds, his work often focuses on marginalized communities and environmental issues, areas where he believes photography can be particularly effective. By capturing the human element in these stories, his images invite empathy and understanding in ways that statistics or reports cannot.

“When people see the emotions, the struggles, the joys of others, it becomes harder for them to remain indifferent,” Galos explains. This empathetic connection forged through his lens is a critical component of advocacy, turning passive viewers into informed and concerned citizens.

He has learned a lot about people, society, and families

Before he discoverd his career aspirations, Galos started as a dancer and then he ventured into music trying to find what he can call a career.

He says, “I was a dancer. And from dancing, I went into music and then I found photography. But then I realized that I’ve been doing photography since I was seven years old, because my dad had a camera and I was always using that camera to take some family pictures.”

His subjects tell him thousands of stories with smiles on their faces even if they are living tragic lives.

“I believe that even though someone will have a sad story or going through a lot of things, deep down they still have happiness in them, they still have joy in them,” Galos says, “helping them to bring that out and figure out that even though they’re going through that, they’re still happy, is one of the best things I love about my job.”

What helps her take impactful photographs is to empathize and find their natural happiness

He said the connection he forges with people are the ones that drive his passion. When he visited a community fleeing war in Wau, South Sudan, he learnt that it does not matter when you speak the same language all that matters is how you are helping others and impacting the community.

He said, “ I loved how we connected. I loved the stories. I loved that we couldn’t speak the same language, but we managed to understand each other and to enjoy our time. And as a result, a picture I took there is hung in my house because every time I look at it, I go back to that time, and I remember those stories. And.. it reminds me why I do what I do.”

Marie Chantal Numukobwa, Program Coordinator of Hope For Life, a non-governmental organization that helps young children get of the streets that Galos works with says that photographs are important when it comes to advocating for different communities.

She said, “ The photographs taken by Serrah for us, most of the time, we want to highlight certain issues that the population faces or some of the issues that program participants face. It is not enough to simply say it. It makes more sense for people to understand when they can see visuals.”

Marie Chantal Numukobwa, Program Coordinator of Hope For Life

Some of the things that help him in his work is to be prepared. He says, “I work with amazing people, like the community leaders, the organization officers, those who are field officers. So they prepare me before we go into a field visit. I get to do a little research about who I’m going to visit.”

“When I’m going to visit someone and I listen to their stories, it doesn’t come really as a huge shock. I have… I have allowed myself to be prepared. I have allowed myself to be comfortable with the stories that they have.”

His advice to aspiring photographers is simple, “Follow your gut.”

“Don’t do things because someone else is doing them. Listen to what drives you, what inspires you, and then pursue that with all your might and allow yourself to be educated. Allow people to speak into your life, to train you. Pursue something you’re passionate about. Not because it’s trending, but because you’re passionate about it.”

Listen to his story
Pictures can say what words fail to describe
Galos has went to many places taking photographs to help people
Galos advises the youth, especially photographers, to do what they love and put their whole heart into it to succeed

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