This was from an interview on "A Photo Editor" blog this morning with photographer and RISD (my alma mater) prof. Jesse Burke:
"Exactly. Why photography matters. What can you say with a photograph. Why is photography important?
Dude, you just opened it up. There it is. There’s my next question. Why is photography important?
We have this final project, it’s called “What’s important to you?” What I try to get across to them, when they leave my class, (beyond black and white analog skills for developing and printing film and a little bit of digital input) is understanding that the world is a dynamic and amazing place. Everybody’s story is important and that people care about each other’s stories. So what I try to stress is that what’s important to you is also important to me. I try to focus on having them figure out a way to share their personal interest, and things that are important to them, in a dynamic way to the world. Hopefully they’ll leave the class being a better architect, or a better language studies student because they can see how visual culture and photography help make the world go around. It helps them get their message across, whatever their message is, in a smarter, better, more visual way"
And that's why he teaches at RISD!