Fair Trade Photography Battles ‘Development Pornography’
“Upwards of 90% of the images of the majority world that are seen in the western media are produced by white photographers from the USA or Europe. This results in a one dimensional view often driven by a negative news agenda or the need to raise money.”
“Recognizing everybody’s communication rights in the information society is not mere slogan or campaign; it’s an integral part of social justice.” [Photos and quotes from fair trade group - Kijiji Vision site]
In the past month there has been a slate of news from Reuters, MSF and others, surrounding imagery and how western media portrays the world. Imaging Famine is about media representations and was mentioned this week by a Reuters blog. This is nothing new, but the debate is good, and as the Reuters piece points out, they have covered the issues surrounding ‘development pornography‘ previously. Another Reuters writer also picked up on this entire theme: Viewing the poor through Western eyes, I recommend the short read below and checking out the Kijiji/Majority World websites-
“Part of the reason for this kind of post-colonial choreography by INGOs is because they are still required to be the visual mediators of the poor world to the rich world. In Western society, our INGOs are inter-cultural gatekeepers. And you would often have for example, the young white INGO nurse talking passionately on television beside starving children…” Full story.
The above Reuters piece mentions Kijiji Vision, who were the guests for MSF’s Spring series on the Ethics of Imagery. Kijiji supports and promotes indigenous photographers and has a separate site for purchasing photos, check out Majority World. Two other bits of related content from this week. First, Buffett (son of Warren) donated $730,000 to the journalism school at Nebraska to help student photojournalists record the wants of the world. And finally Together TV (yet another video outlet) has launched more video “in their own words”.