Culture Inspires

WORLD • CELEBRATING THE FREEDOM OF IDENTITY


Different cultures should only be a source of inspiration.


OMO VALLEY by © JIMMY NELSON

OMO VALLEY by ©JIMMY NELSON

PHYLLIS GALEMBO - LOS FARUSEOS, 2008

Imagine if you were born in Omo Valley rather than London or another city, and how different you might have turned out to be... Or if you were born as a shepherd in the mountains of northern Turkey, Rize...  

Would you have been happier?  Living a simple life... Without the hassle of building a career, and with no doubts about the future, as this would be pretty set already.

You would also have been in constant, direct contact with nature, eating fresh food and breathing clean air.

If we weren’t so used to our lifestyle, we might have been happier with a simpler one. Who knows?

Those with simpler lives might be curious about city life, too.

As mentioned in the feature “I Am Another You”, one of the weakest points possessed by humankind is making poor judgements based on our cultural biases, without really understanding that differences are actually normal and reflect the facts of how and where we were raised.

Shepherd girl Hamdu Sena from Rize, Turkey

Marcel Proust once said “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” He believed that by learning about other cultures, we become more able to explore new ideas and prospects. Options that would not have occurred to us before would become more obvious once we understand how people from different societies experience the world.

That’s why it is very important to have a deeper global awareness and understanding of other cultures. It will broaden our horizons and expand our vision.

This is where sociology comes in, illuminating different societies and communities across the world. Sociology helps us improve our ability to see and understand the connection between the broad social forces and personal experiences. Moreover, studying or learning about sociology is extremely helpful to understand different cultures, an understanding which then works to build a peaceful world in harmony.

But if you are not yet ready to delve so deep, you could start by looking at the photography of some of the fascinating photographers listed below, who take inspiration from travelling and different cultures around the world. Being able to learn about and visualise how people really live in other parts of the world at this moment -  through the lenses of master photographers - could give us the perspective to understand that there is no one right way of living; that each society is unique, and that we could have lived in a different way had we been born somewhere else.

In the quest to understand different societies to live in harmony, looking at photographs could be a good start.