TED's 31 days of Ideas - Day 25: (Re)touching lives through photos

(Re)touching lives through photos

By Emily McManus

There's a feeling you sometimes get after you hear about a tragedy, an unanswered problem, a hole in the world. You wonder how you can help -- and you ask yourself: Do these people, does this broken world, need what I can offer?

In a way, we're all looking for a match between what the world needs and what we alone can offer it. We wish to be needed for our own particular set of skills.

I love Becci Manson's TED Talk, "(Re)touching lives through photos," because she did exactly that. For work, Becci retouches photos; she makes the beautiful more beautiful, the perfect more perfect. She is a serious professional and talks like a serious professional. And she found a way that her skills could help mend a hole in the world. This plain-spoken, direct woman, used to creating perfect skin in darkened rooms, found a powerful way to help people rebuild their lives after a shattering tragedy.

It's one of the most hopeful talks I've ever seen, not because it's about a giant huge solution to everything, but precisely because it's so intimate -- about one woman who noticed a hole in the world and realized her particular skills, and the skills of her friends, could help fill it. I hope you enjoy.