“Every photograph you take is a window to the past.” -Neil Mortensen.
When you are a photographer, or taking or making an image, you are being a conduit.
A conduit to the future, to share what is in front of your lens, to people who might be moved or influenced by what is shown. This is one of the powerful abilities of photography.
You care about civil unrest in the Middle East? Get out there, see how it makes you feel, take the images, find a story, tell it, and get them in Time or National Geographic. It might make somebody take a trip, or send money to help.
Got a buddy who rips a mini-ramp better than Daewon Song? Shoot a few sequences and submit it to Transworld with a bio on him, and you might make a thousand kids go out and imitate what he’s doing.
Have an obsession with the Northern Lights? Spend a month in Alaska, experiencing them with the locals who see them everyday, and you have a full-bleed format photo book with stories to tell, that will make people want to go.
It’s a truly empowering ability. Use it wisely.