Inicio > Fotografía documental, Ética periodística > «What I do wish for though, is that people stop treating certain countries as playgrounds to experiment with/improve their skills (photography, in this case)» Shreya Bhat

«What I do wish for though, is that people stop treating certain countries as playgrounds to experiment with/improve their skills (photography, in this case)» Shreya Bhat

“It’s so easy to walk into India and build emotionally gutting stories around the images you capture, wherein [the] limited attention of the viewer is actually directed towards the quality of your work. We have a lot of poverty and naked kids and colour, to make an image look beautiful.”

Chesterton agrees. What Datta has done is “awful” he says – but then there are also the picture editors who have “have all seen it, but they haven’t seen it”, and the people who are “losing their shit about cloning a bit of an image with a photograph…but they’re not losing it over a rape”.

He wonders how it can happen, speculating that seeing hundreds of images per day deadens picture editors’ sensitivity, giving them an “image fatigue” that drives them to “ticking boxes – access, misery, girls, bad guys” rather than really looking. Bhat says there may be something in it, noting that: “After this work of Souvid [including the Mary Ellen Mark figure] was pointed out to people, there were tons of people (via comments) stating that it’s obviously Photoshopped, in a very shoddy way.

“But that’s because your attention was directed to that ONE picture. People fail to realise that. If you’re skimming through 12 pictures in a series, you’ll probably not notice something strange about that one woman in the corner. Because you’re looking at all the other pictures that seem just usual and processing the stories behind these pictures.”

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Magnum archive.

Olivia Arthur – now can we talk about Magnum Photos and child abuse?

n 2017 Magnum photos ran a photo competition marketed on Facebook with a Souvid Datta photo of an Indian child allegedly being raped. The fall out was intense when the industry woke up to find that outside of photojournalism only sex offenders think men with cameras setting up photos of children being raped is anything to celebrate.

Two men decided to take action. Robert Godden (Rights Exposure, formerly Amnesty) and Jason Tanner (Human Rights For Journalism) started a campaign to introduce some very basic child protection standards in the industry.

‘Even a cursory look at photographic work produced over the last five years will turn up at least half a dozen examples of work where children have arguably been exploited, put at risk, and/or child protection laws may have been broken. Where is the clear, unequivocal and guiding response from leaders in the industry, both condemning such images and providing leadership in fostering change? Can we say with confidence that we even know how to spot photos that are problematic and require further inquiry?’ Robert Godden – Witness (World Press Photo)

Magnum photos was one of the few agencies to respond:

“The protection of vulnerable and abused children is of paramount importance to Magnum Photos…the agency is taking the time to consider how these recommendations guide the production of work, and apply to our archive, our new publishing initiatives … Magnum staff and photographers will continue to discuss these topics over the coming weeks and months, examining each part of the business in turn, to ensure we shine a light on concerned areas.” Fiona Rogers, Magnum Photos

That’s the spin.

Here’s the truth.

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